I’m going to tell you an “Untold Story” however I’m not very good with secrets and some people may already know or have heard this story before. When I was just 13 my Dad moved to Sierra Leone for business, which meant I moved in with my Nan and Grandad.
But when I was 16 (and waiting for the patent to be approved for GripIt), I decided to take a trip over for a couple of months. I had been before but I was much younger and didn’t enjoy it much because of the heat and the different foods (I’m a fussy eater).
It’s a country that has lots of poverty which is sad and it’s very different to where you and I live, it was an eye-opening trip and one that really made me look at things differently moving forward.
I remember going to the shop once which was miles away. When I got out the car everyone looked at me, because if you and I go over there we would look quite wealthy, as they don’t have much. They all surrounded the car and the shop waiting for me to come back out. It was quite a scary experience, but a little boy caught my eye who was just stood back and watching. I had to go over and speak to him, he was very shy at very first but was polite, I went back into the shop and got him a lolly which I have never seen someone appreciates so much.
This time around I had gone over to help my Dad and his business partners with their gold mining business and to gain some experience. Before going out Dad asked me to look at getting some office furniture and source some machinery and part to send over. Office furniture over there was expensive so I decided to buy a load from IKEA and send it over in a container and machinery was non-existence and had to get that shipped over to. I then flew out before the container got there, so when it did finally get there, I could check it off, which I did. Because the furniture was flat packed and it had to be put together, I managed a team to get this done.
My dad and his business partners had to travel down to another site for a few days so they asked if I would take care of things on the main camp in their absence managing all 300 employees. Whilst they were away typically it was payday. I had to go to the bank (again which was miles away) to get the money out to pay them, as most of the employees don’t have bank accounts it all had to be cash. It was very odd carrying the amount of money I had, it felt like I was a bank robber there was so much cash and it was all in black bags which filled a whole 4×4. The staff all lined up and I handed over the cash, with a form to be signed and handed back to prove they had been paid.
Now to get to the story this blog is about… A new piece of equipment was being delivered (an X-ray Machine which was to be used to separate the diamonds from the gravel) , it needed to be up and running quickly as it was already a month behind schedule. It was delivered the day before the imminent return of my dad with a team of people to start the installation. It was a long day and I had to oversee each bit, the most difficult part was trying to install it into a storage container which meant that we would be able to secure it better once running.
After numerous tests, it was finally ready and at that point, my dad returned back to camp. He was very excited to see it running so we started it up and ran it for a few hours together. He had been traveling all day so was extremely tired, so I offered to stay on and watch the machine whilst he got some rest. It was about 1 am and I was sat on a wooden stool in the container with my headphones in watching the machine and trying not to fall asleep. It was only me and a local maintenance guy called Abdul, it was so loud you couldn’t hear anything. All of a sudden I felt something touch my boot…I looked down to see a snake that was wrapping itself around my boot. I remembered what everyone had told me which was if you see a snake just stay completely still… so I did. After probably 30 seconds which felt like ages the snake started to slither off after it got far enough away I chucked the stool and ran down the other end of the container shouting snake … snake.
Abuli couldn’t hear me properly was replying SWITCH? SWITCH? So I started to do hand actions… he ran down and removed the snake whilst I had at this point climbed on top of a table. I rang my dad who came out quickly and then when we went over to see the snake from a distance I found out it was a black mamba a venomous and deadly snake, once bitten it can affect you very fast. It was a very scary situation and I’m glad I managed to stay calm and got out unharmed.
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