The afternoon heat made everything fuzzy while we were waiting to get on the night train in
As it turned pitch black, I closed my eyes and drifted off into ‘never-never land’. Rain drops falling on the roof woke me up several hours later and made me want to pee. It wasn’t until I got up and looked out of the window that I saw it was pouring down rain. I went to the toilet and lay down again. The rest of my crew was fast asleep, so I made myself busy daydreaming about the future expeditions in beautiful Africa, reading stories my father had written when he was in
All of a sudden, the train stopped forcefully. All of us fell off our beds, holding to whatever we could, our hearts beating fast and furious. I could hear the water running outside. I figured it must have been a river raging somewhere nearby. A lot of people were screaming and the wheels underneath us were squeaking like thunder until, finally, the train stopped completely. Still, people were screaming and crying. We opened the door of our four-bed compartment to see what was going on, but the night was pitch dark and it was still raining pretty hard, so we couldn’t see anything. All we could hear was people screaming and water running furiously as if we were in the middle of a waterfall.
The clock turned one in the morning and we were still waiting in the train. Not knowing what was going on made me extremely nervous, especially because we knew something bad had happened. Some of the cries became more distant. On and on we waited for hours for the sky to get brighter and it wasn’t until four that it got bright enough for us to go out and see what was going on. There, in the middle of what seemed to be a never ending prairie, we walked to the tip of the long train, and saw the first two wagons had been swallowed by the river. Apparently, the bridge over the flooded river broke loose as the train tried to cross it. Some people were still alive in the wagons screaming for help, but none of us could save them because they were too deep down there for us to reach them. Besides, we had no equipment suitable to rescue them and the river was still raging. All we could do was stand there and watch the crying children and women dying. Dead bodies were piling up down there, hungry crocodiles waiting their turn to fill their stomachs. Standing there helplessly made me want to scream my guts out. There was absolutely nothing we could do to rescue the unfortunate souls who were drowning.
A man with a radio called for help, but the helicopters would not be coming for another four hours. We took our luggage and started walking towards
What happened in the African prairie that night is something that seems like a distant nightmare – a nightmare which will always remind me of how valuable life is and that we should not take it for granted but be grateful to have it and cherish it day by day.
(This was written for my language-learning class; it is now my story, but it really did happen to some one else )