The flood has returned. It’s been seven years since I last smelled the unmistakable scent of silty water. My nostrils flare, filled with the pungent aroma. Old women are crying, their shrill ululations cutting the stillness of the air. As I step outside I am greeted by the sight of the transformed delta: no longer a parched and blistering scar, now a shimmering brown floodplain. Birds flock by the thousand, seeking the insects driven out by the waters.
Fertility has returned to the delta.
I stretch my arms above my head and peer up into the clear sky. The rain must have fallen far to the west, for many days, for we’d seen no sign of clouds. We were resigned to yet another dry summer, eking out a sparse existence on infertile lands. For as long as our old women could remember, the delta flooded each summer, bringing thick mud full of nutrients to revitalise our soil. Seven years ago the water never came, and we’ve been surviving as best we could since then, hoping that, one day, they would return. Continue reading