extremities require courage and resilience

by Jane Jolly illustrated by Dee Huxley - Simply Read Books, 2006
ages 4 to grown-up / diversitypowerful lives, s.o.s.e.

In February and March 2000, Mozambique had an awful flood. It was devastating to its families, villages and cities. As always, when natural disaster strikes, especially so far away, we watched the effects of the flood with heavy hearts. I was pregnant at the time and so one particular story is etched in my memory—it was the story of Sophia Chunbango whose home was flooded and who climbed a tree with many others to escape the flood waters. 

Sophia, however, was heavily pregnant and miraculously ended up giving birth in the tree above the fierce flood waters. There were incredible news segments showing Sophia and her baby being airlifted out of the tree. Limpopo Lullaby is a fictionalised account of that story—and it’s beautiful:

Young mother Josette and her two children watch as the rain starts and then doesn’t stop. 

When Josette and her newborn baby are rescued from the tree by helicopter, her children watch in awe and are then rescued themselves.

Finally, the family is reunited and able to bask in the beauty, peace and joy a newborn brings.

This a beautifully told and illustrated story. It’s inspiring and full of wonder in itself and becomes even more so when the true story is told alongside it.

It shows the courage and strength of the young mother in crazy circumstances (well, all births feel a bit that way). It also beautifully portrays the love in her family with evocative words and pictures. The birth is treated with respect and delicacy, making it a perfect story for a family who might be in the years when new babies are arriving.

Limpopo Lullaby makes us think about things like:

Courage under pressure
Family love
Resilience and perseverance
Joy in the earth
Simple pleasures
Life in very poor circumstances
Dealing with unchangeable circumstances
One of the ways people become homeless (through natural disasters)
A strong and vibrant young woman taking charge of her circumstances
Helping others even at personal risk

You might like this news link from the time and here’s one about how the baby, whose real life name is Rositha, grew up. 


Also ..  this book about making the most of life. 

Limpopo Lullaby does seem to come in and out of print so may be one to find in the local library but at the time of writing it was available from Amazon and Book Depository.