October 11 – It was at Solusi that I nearly got shot. I used to go out in the evenings occasionally and roam around the outskirts of the mission, looking for springhares to shoot with my dad’s .22 rifle. Usually I would take along an African friend to hold the torch (flashlight) and provide a shoulder for me to rest the rifle on. I wonder now how many deaf African friends I may have over there?! Springhares are large rodents that leap around like small kangaroos, live in burrows, and are pests of maize crops. Their big eyes gleam redly when caught in the beam of a flashlight.
One night I was out with a friend and we each had a flashlight this time. As we walked through the bush we noticed in the distance a flashlight turning this way and that, and both aimed our flashlights at it to see who else was out hunting that night. We could see it was one of the young missionary men who lived on the mission station, and he soon noticed our lights and shone his back at us. Of course he couldn’t see who or what we are, and just stood looking for a little bit, then turned and went rushing off towards the mission. We continued our hunt and eventually went back home for the night.
Next day we heard this young man telling folks that he had seen the eyes of the biggest leopard ever, and had decided it was so big that if he shot at it and just wounded it, he was a dead man, so he fled. We were glad to tell him that we were glad he had not fired and that the two leopard eyes were our two flashlights. This same young man at one time had to go around for weeks wearing dark glasses, because a spitting cobra had got him in the eyes when he went into a dark shed where the snake happened to be. – DALE