Waters at Dawn
It was five o’clock in the morning when I was awakened by the sounds of wailing from my neighbors. Laying there in bed, on my back, in a dimly lit room, I felt distraught and confused. My mind pondered greatly on what kind of events would lead to such an outcry.
“Could it be that all the firstborn had died? Was it a plague, like that of Egypt in Moses’ time?” I joked to myself.
I uncovered myself, sat up straight, and started to get off of my bed to investigate. As soon as my feet were about to kiss the ground, I felt a cold touch and enveloping around them. Lo and behold, the room was filled with water, about twenty centimetres high.
I called out to my husband who was next to me. We were both in total dismay. Moving around the house, we couldn’t find a single leak. I then remembered that it was raining in the middle of the night, at the time I had gone to relieve myself. That must have been the cause.
We walked outside and realized the entire neighborhood was flooded. People were crowded in the street with folded trousers and lifted skirts. Trash, papers, and hairs were floating all around. One family was crying about their dead baby, and those who lived downhill, closer to the N’zama River, were severely engulfed. It was a display of complete disarray.
The two of us had moved into the area a year ago, after the completion of the five-year Neighborhood Expansion Project that involved the clearing and urbanization of about 10,000 acres of land. We were wondering whether this had ever happened before. After asking around, everyone seemed surprised, and an old lady who had lived in the area for over fifty years said it was the first time the river ever flooded.