January 9th

THIS story is from Mozambique, Mordochka. You’ll love it because it’s about throwing back your head and singing! In February 2000, the Limpopo river in Mozambique broke her banks after days of heavy rain.  Within hours the entire country was flooded. And here’s what the people did:     

InterestEng. illustration


The people there have a spirit, Mordochka. They don’t have lots of things so, instead, they have a rich spirit. The people plant seeds. They work hard. They grow cotton and tea. 

     It is the rainy season. And, oh, the wind, she is very angry! She wears a black dress and when she cries it brings down rain that fills the sky.

     The big river, the Limpopo, spills over her banks. She can hold no more. The river lets the water go. She does not want to, but the water flows. She cannot wait for the sun to shine. The big river breaks and the water runs over and makes great lakes. 

     The land, it is no more.
     The precious crops, they are no more.
     The useful roads, they are no more.


     The people leave their homes. Quickly! They climb the trees. They bring their loved children to the top of the trees. They bring their loved grandmothers to the top of the trees. They bring their chickens and goats and all their hopes to the top of the trees. And all day they wait.

     The night comes. The children cry. They are wet and hungry. They are afraid. The wind, she is so angry! The rain is so cold.  But one woman, Mordochka, she is not afraid!  She is a grandmother. She is strong and brave. Her name is Simiao. She looks at the sky, she looks at the rain, and she starts to sing! 

     And the people all listen. They do not hear the wind. They do not hear the rain. They hear a voice singing.

     Old Simiao sings and sings. And the people listen. When she stops, someone new begins. He sings and when he stops, someone else sings. The mothers are not afraid. The children are not afraid. The goats and chickens aren’t afraid. For the people are all singing. All through the night, the people sing. The next day comes and the people sing. The people sing for eight nights, songs—until nine days are gone. And the people sing.

     The people wait in the arms of the trees—and in the arms of hope.  It is holding up the branches, it is holding up the children, it is holding up the goats! The people wait in the arms of hope.

       The people wait until the sunshine comes. The sunshine comes and the water goes. The people begin to rebuild their homes. They sow their seeds, they make new roads. And the people sing.

                                               —Story originally found in The Christian Science Monitor and retold here.

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - April 2022 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com