Two days ago two teenage boys drowned in the dam just outside the fence of ASM. A brother of one of the boys watched helplessly from the shoreline as the boat the boys were fishing in tipped over. The two boys most likely were not good swimmers and didn't make it the 50 feet or so from where their boat capsized to the shoreline. A few staff and students went out to try to help, but they couldn't find the two boys.
Individuals in rural African communities are superstitious. Shortly after the boys died and partially because the bodies weren't found the rumors started about why/how they died. Some thought hippos had gotten them. This is not so far fetched. About 6 weeks ago there were two hippos living in the dam. Little known fact that hippos are responsible for more deaths than any other animal in Africa. But as I said it has been at least 6 weeks since the hippos left. Some thought mermaids lived in the dam and were upset that the boys were fishing with nets. Maybe a mermaid got caught in the net and pulled causing the boat to tip over? The most common idea was that a massive anaconda lived in the dam and pulled the two boys under and killed them. Another said the Ancestors were angry about recent break-ins in the area and were trying to tell the community to put a stop to it.
Divers in the boat getting ready to start Day 2 (you can see people climbing into trees in the background to get a better view)
Yesterday more divers were called in. They started searching around 11:30 and by 2:00 they had found both bodies. To me it looked as though the boys had drowned. Fairly simple answer. No animals, mystic creatures, or mystic beings. Although one could say the Ancestor theory would still stand. There is no proof that the Ancestors weren't responsible.
Cars stopped along the road to see what was going on
I doubt we will ever hear the end of the story. No cause of death will be shared with the hundreds of people there yesterday. Which, as in any culture, will lead to imaginative stories of, "how they really died." I guess we aren't much different in that way. Think of an old urban legend or a story from your childhood you were told about that, "scary place," or the, "abandoned house." Most legends start with some form of truth, maybe a tragic accident like this was. But it is that same tragic truth that makes the legend just believable enough.