This is a story that my mother told me, while shedding tears, of how she was miraculously saved from deadly floods by a stranger. After learning of the competition, I thought it wise to share about this hero whom God used to save my mother long before I was brought to this world.
It was a beautiful morning some 30 years ago, back in our home village Khanda where my mother and her entire family lived. She was a young girl of about 13 or 14 years attending a primary school which was some few kilometers away from their place of residence. And on this fateful day, she was also expected to go to school as usual.
“Rabeca! Rabeee! Tadzukani kwacha apa mukatsuke mbale musanakonzeke za kusukulu, ” her mother, who is now my granny, woke her up so that she could start doing her morning chores before starting to prepare for school.
My mother reluctantly woke up. It was chilly since it had rained all night. After getting ready for school, she started her walk to school with her elder sister Stelia. To get to school, they had to cross Naisi River through a bridge made of trees and some timber. Naisi River is a big river which pours into Lake Chirwa and gets flooded whenever huge amounts of rain pour in high land areas.
As stubborn as she was, my mother decided to run away from school before it was time to knock off, without the knowledge of her sister who was in an upper class. On her way back, she reached the bridge and realised that this time the river was full. Water had started spilling over the boundaries of the river and the bridge was carried away by the waters so that people had stopped crossing to the other side.
This was as a result of the heavy rains that had poured the previous evening, especially from the high lands connected to Naisi. She first thought of going back to school but she later assured herself that she could swim her way through. As soon as she threw herself into the river, she found herself being driven away by the strong waters which she could not fight despite her efforts to swim.
“Amayine! Amayine! Ndikukokoloka ine kuno!” She started to scream for help, seeing that she was being overpowered by the cruel water.
“Where am I? What happened? Who is this man?”
Those are some of the questions my mother asked the crowed of people, including her mother, sister and some other villagers who were gathered around her after she was saved from her deadly swim.
“This is the man who has saved your life”, granny tells my mother while pointing at the man who had saved her life. She later discovered that she was saved from the floods by a fisherman from a far region. He flew himself into the river to look for her when the people who had gathered around the river thought that she was long gone. This man spent minutes under water looking for Rabbe.
And after that incident, he helped a lot of children who could have faced the same cruelty of the waters of the Naisi River pass through. He carried them on his back while he swam to the other side. Despite all this sacrifice, the man rejected any tambala or gifts presented to him by my mother’s family and people around the village.
I regard this man as a hero, not only for saving my mother, but also for helping a lot of children and risking his life that day without asking anything in return.