The drought was so severe that each day when we went to get water or gather wood, we’d see another dead donkey or cow. Despite flooding in other parts of the country, it was a dust bowl where I lived. Farmers cried as their crops withered, some chose to delay planting, desperately hoping they could time it with late rainfall. But there wasn’t a cloud in sight.
One day, as I stood in my small pen next to my owner’s house, the wind picked up. It started slowly, then grew stronger and whistled through the trees. In the distance baboons leapt from branches and scattered across the ground. My body tensed. In what felt like seconds, the wind went from whistling through the trees to tearing metal off roofs. Screams echoed above the roaring gale, and the calls of terrified animals chilled me to the bone. The sky was filled with flying objects. Pieces of wood crashed around me, and windows blew out of houses.
I lay in swirling dust and cried. How could wind destroy everything? Pick up chickens as though they were feathers, and tear down homes. I waited for my turn to come.
After what seemed like eternity it stopped. It was as though a switch had been flicked – there wasn’t even a breath of air! I rose shakily to me feet, listening to shouting and crying as people came out of hiding to assess the devastation. Chicken houses with no roofs, windowless homes and fallen fences. No one slept that night, fearing the wind would return.
My weary eyes opened slowly as the sun rose. Everything looked strange. The sky which would normally have been lit up with clear shades of orange and yellow, was hazy and dull.
I staggered over to the edge of my pen. All around I saw the damage from the day before. I heard some of the people talk of a tornado that had come, and realized that’s what the crazy wind must have been. They said that there was no electricity in a nearby shop because the wind had snapped the poles clean in two!
The people walked around just shaking their heads. Some had gone to try and find their animals, and I could hear donkeys calling from far away. Had they been picked up by the wind as I had feared I was going to be? Perhaps they had seized their chance to run away from abusive owners.
It would take years to repair the damage the tornado had done, and I would do all I could to help my owner. I was so grateful to have him there to look after me.