For four days it rained non-stop. The ram was not very heavy but it kept on coming without letting up. Our neighbours and we were all worried about the possibility of a flood—the levels of the nearby river had been rising steadily.
The next day the river overflowed its banks and the water spread out covering the entire area cm which houses stood. To make-matters worse, debris were caught on the bridge thus impeding the flow of the river. This had the effect of making the flood water rise even faster. The array came and blew a gap on the bridge to clear the blockage and this brought some relief to us.
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Nevertheless, the rain continued. It was wet everywhere—the ground, our chairs, beds; wet. We could not do any cooking and had to resort to eating canned food. By about four o’clock in the afternoon, it become obvious that we had to evacuate to higher grounds. If we lingered any longer, we might become trapped by the rising water and then we would really be in trouble. So with a few belongings we trudged through knee-deep water towards a school situated on a hill nearby. The school was temporarily being used as a flood relief centre. When we reached the school we met many of our neighbours who had already gone there earlier. We were provided with food and a place to sleep. All that we could do was to wait for the flood to be over.
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After sitting out two days at the flood relief centre, the flood water finally subsided enough for us to return home. The rain had not actually stopped but was still drizzling slightly, but we were all happy to be able to go home.
What a shock awaited us when we reached home! Instead of the cosy little place we knew so well, we were greeted by a mess of mud and rubbish. It was an unbelievable sight to behold. I could see my bicycle almost fully buried in the mud. Only one handlebar could be seen above the mud. It was mud, mud and more mud everywhere. Yellow sticky mud covered the floor up to ten centimeters, patches of mud on the wall, on the beds, on the TV set, hi the kitchen, inside the locked cupboard everywhere.
So we got down to the tedious job of giving our house a thorough cleaning. All day through—we slogged, sweated and cursed. Still we could not finish the cleaning. By night, the whole lot of us, my parents, my elder brother and younger sister were totally exhausted. Mother, what a wonderful mother she was, still managed to whip up a hot dinner for us despite the chaotic condition of the house. After dinner we fell asleep on our beds. The beds were still damp but nobody complained.
Morning came and we all woke up to a bright and sunny day. I never felt such joy before as we went outdoors to soak in the warm rays of the rising sun. Everything seemed to have enlivened—birds sang, cocks crowed and there was a general ‘aliveness’ in the air. We were in good spirits. Our neighbours too were obviously pleased, as we exchanged fond greetings and hung out our wet clothes to dry in the sun.
We spent the next two days cleaning up our house. We could not totally remove the mud and grime so we did the best we could to make the house a cosy home again. When we finished, father took us to a well known restaurant to have a well-deserved dinner.
Our problems were not all over, as I discovered when we were on our way to town for our “well-deserved dinner.” We could not cross the river for the bridge was not usable. We had to take a long detour to another bridge which made our journey a few kilometres longer.
For more than a year we had to endure the inconvenience of the long detour in coming and going from our area. It also took about that length for time for things to return to normal. New drains were made and most of all the omnipresent slimy mud turned into grass covered soil, so wonderful to walk barefooted on. I suppose this was one way that nature uses to renew itself. Whatever it is, I hope we will not have to go through another flood, it is absolutely no fun.