The people sing

                  A true story







Re” means “again”. When you see “re” before a word, it often means something is being done again:

redo (do something again) remake (make something again) / rethink (think about something again) 


In February 2000, after days of heavy rain, the Limpopo river in Mozambique flooded. All the land was covered with cold, deep water.


THE people have a spirit. They plant seeds. They work hard. They grow cotton and tea. Now it is the rainy season. And, oh, the wind, she is very angry! She wears a black dress [dark clouds] and when she cries, rain fills the sky. The big river, the Limpopo, runs over its banks. The river can hold no more water. It lets the water go. The water flows. The river can’t wait for the sun to shine. The river breaks and the water runs and makes great lakes. The land, it is no more [it is under water]. The valuable [needed] crops, they are no more. The useful roads, they are no more.

     The people leave their homes. They go quickly! They climb the trees. They bring their loved children to the top of the trees. They bring their loved grandmothers to the top of the trees. They bring their chickens and goats, and all their hopes, to the top of the trees. And all day they wait.

     The night comes. The children cry. They are wet and hungry. They are afraid. The wind, she is so angry! The rain, she is so cold. . . .  But one woman, she is not afraid! She is an old grandmother. She is strong and brave. Her name is Simiao. She looks at the sky, she looks at the rain . . . and she starts to sing! And all the people listen. They do not hear the wind. They do not hear the rain. They hear a voice singing.

     Old Simiao sings and sings and the people listen. When she stops, someone new begins. He sings and when he stops, someone else begins! The mothers are not afraid. The children are not afraid. The goats and chickens are not afraid. For the people are all singing. All through the night, the people sing. The people sing for eight nights, songs—until nine days are gone [until 9 days have passed].  And the people sing.

     The people wait in the arms of the trees—and in the arms of hope.  It is holding up the branches, it is holding up the children, it is holding up the goats! The people wait in the arms of hope.


     The people wait until the sunshine comes. The sunshine comes and the water goes. The people they begin to rebuild their homes. They plant their seeds, they make new roads. And the people sing.



1. What does it mean that the people have a spirit?:

    A.) they are afraid of rain 
    B.) they have lots of feelings like love, joy, hope, happiness 
    C.) they have magic

2. What does it mean that the river flooded?
    A.) It had too much water from the rain and the water ran all over the land.
    B.) The river lost its water.
    C.) The river was dirty. 

3. Where is Mozambique?
    A.) It is a country in South America.
    B.) It is a city in Africa.
    C.) It is a country in Africa.

4. Why did the old grandmother sing in the rain storm?
    A.) African people love to sing. It gives them strength and joy.
    B.) The grandmother sang to show she was not afraid.
    C.) The grandmother was very wise. 
    D.) All of the above.

5. What does it mean in the story when it says the people began to rebuild their homes?
    A.) They moved to a new place and built a new home.
    B.) They cleaned their homes.
    C.) The rain destroyed their homes and so after the storm they had to build their homes again.

6.  What did you learn from this story?

7.  Can you think of something you can do to help you not be afraid?

      §•  ANSWERS BELOW  •§

1) B    2) A    3) C    4) D    5) C

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: