Why snakes were kept away from Nairobi weather conference

Entrance of the future Snake Park, Kakamega Forest, Western Kenya

NICHOLAS OKEYA

NAIROBI: As the First Metrological Conference in Africa continues in this city of 4 million residents, snakes in the forests of Nganyi Western Kenya and Kaya at the coastal region enjoy their habitation uninterrupted, at least for the time being.

Snakes are some of the creatures used by traditional rainmakers in Kenya and several parts of Africa to predict climate change.

It was widely expected that traditional “weather forecasters” would be invited to attend the conference, but the idea was shelved for fear of scaring away the internationally renowned participants.

“We did not invited them for this particular conference because of its profile nature, but we shall be convening another one in September this year where they will be invited for knowledge blending and to jointly forecast the weather for October-December short rains,” Francis Nguatah, a provincial director of metrology in Kenya, told Media21.

Traditional “Rain Making” is common among the Luos and Luhyas in Western Kenya and among the the Miji Kenda community at the coast.

“You know, some of these people if invited to attend such a conference, they may decide to come will all their paraphernalia including snakes,” he said.

Nguatah conceded that even though conventional weather forecast had taken such a huge leap technologically, traditional weathermen shall for ever remain “professional” partners.

“We all do the same thing, observation. The only difference is methodology,” Nguatah told Media21.

On the benefits of weather forecasting, Nguatah said in every Ksh1 (Kenyan Schilling) one uses to seek information on weather situation, he/she saves Ksh7.

“Weather is everything in life and therefore it’s imperative that one takes a moment to understand it,’’ said the weatherman.

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