GOTCHI AND SATCHI: (part four) … short story continued… Over time, the rains diminished. They went from falling more than five months a year to eventually less than one. The unbearable hot season lasted most of the year. The rainy season all but disappeared. Without the rains, the grassy plains turned brown. Marshes, once filled with water, stayed dry.
Sanda and Binta became desperate. Like others around them, they renounced their pastoral life and built an adobe home. With Sanda’s brother, they dug deep in the ground searching for water, but Sanda’s brother died, asphyxiated when the well caved in on him. Sanda kept digging, but to no avail; the well never reached water. With little food to eat or water to drink, his family’s herds died off, and survival became a daily concern. The changing climate became the enemy of man and animal alike.
One night a violent sand storm swept over the land, burying everything that stood in its path. Sanda’s last remaining cows, already weakened by hunger and thirst, grew frightened. To escape the horrifying winds, the animals ran up a giant sand dune, not realizing that a cliff lay on the other side. One by one, each cow fell to its death.
That same murderous night, a miracle occurred. To shield her from the devastating winds, Sanda had brought his favorite cow, Kouri, inside the family home as she labored with twins. When the first calf slithered out, Sanda handed it off to Gotchi. Kouri, exhausted by her effort, breathed one last breath and died. (To be continued…)
Photo: man digging well, desperately seeking water.