Welcome, dear readers, to the dawn of 2024! As we journey together through the intricate tapestry of the Shadows of Extinction universe, we’ve shared snippets of world-building that have, hopefully, sparked your curiosity and imagination. Fear not of spoilers here; our aim is to enrich your understanding of the world inhabited by Jenebah Tamba and the pivotal events that sculpted her reality, diverging from the world as we know it.

This January, we delve deep into a defining moment of our story’s backdrop – a cataclysm that reshaped the African continent, where our narrative unfolds. This event stands alongside the relocation of the United Nations Headquarters and the formation of three geo-political groups, which we will explore in due course (and you’ll see their influence in my third novel, currently in the works). But for now, let’s focus on a turning point in our story: the eruption of Mount Cameroon.

Lessons Under the Baobab Tree
Listen to the Story

… and so the story begins

In the shade of a grand baobab tree, a group of eager young students gathered around their teacher, Mr. Ekene. He had a special story for them today, one that had shaped their land and lives in ways they could hardly imagine.

“Children,” Mr. Ekene began, his voice carrying the weight and wisdom of his years, “today, I will tell you a story of Mount Cameroon, a tale of nature’s power and how it forever changed our world.”

“Long ago, under the vast African sky, Mount Cameroon stood quietly, watching over our land like a giant guardian,” Mr. Ekene narrated, his hands painting pictures in the air. “But in July 2045, something remarkable happened. The mountain, which had been silent for ages, roared to life in a catastrophic eruption.”

The children exchanged looks – a mixture of curiosity and apprehension; a few were visibly excited, and one or two looked skeptical as they imagined the peaceful mountain transforming into a fierce giant.

“Before the mountain erupted, there were signs,” Mr. Eh-ken-e continued, “Seismologists,” he paused, a mischievous grin on his face. The children’s eyes widen like saucers, a mixture of awe and confusion dancing in their gaze. He could almost hear their young minds whirring, attempting to unravel the complexity of the word.

With a warm, hearty laugh, Mr. Ekene resumed, “Seismologists, my young explorers, are scientists who study the earth’s movements. These scientists noticed unusual seismic patterns, like ripples that shouldn’t exist, and a wave heat that was unusual even for this continent.” He leaned closer, his voice dropping to an almost reverent whisper. “And while our scientists were still trying to figure things out, the animals, always attuned to the earth’s whispers, began to leave the mountain.”

He paused, letting the children absorb the gravity of nature’s warnings. This, Mr. Ekene knew, was where the true adventure began.

“Then the indigenous communities, the ones who knew the mountain’s moods, started to move away. They remembered the old stories of the mountain’s wrath, and they were all the wiser for it, for when nature speaks, wise men listen.”

“On the 12th of July, at exactly 3:47 PM, our world changed,” Mr. Ekene said solemnly. “Mount Cameroon erupted, sending a massive plume of ash and smoke into the sky, visible even from hundreds of kilometers away. Lava flowed like rivers of fire, consuming everything in its path.”

The children sat in stunned silence, envisioning the awe-inspiring yet terrifying spectacle.

“The eruption changed everything,” Mr. Ekene said softly. “Villages at the mountain’s base, once filled with laughter and life, were buried under ash and lava. The skies over Western Africa darkened, and the air we breathed became a cause for concern.”

“The eruption affected more than just the mountain,” he explained. “The climate around us changed. The ash cloud blocked the sun, leading to cooler temperatures and irregular rains. Our lands faced droughts, and the rain that did fall was acidic, harming our crops and water.”

“The world watched and acted,” Mr. Ekene said, a note of hope in his voice. “Countries far and wide sent aid. Scientists came together to study the eruption, worried about how it might affect weather patterns globally.”

“In the months that followed, the full impact of the eruption became clear. It was not just a natural disaster; it became a catalyst for change in our region, leading to new challenges and opportunities.”

“As we sit here under our beloved baobab,” Mr. Ekene concluded, his eyes sweeping over the attentive faces of his students, “let us remember the lessons of Mount Cameroon. Nature is powerful and unpredictable, but it also teaches us resilience and the importance of coming together in times of need.”

The children nodded, a new sense of understanding dawning in their eyes. They knew they would carry the story of Mount Cameroon with them, a tale of nature’s might and humanity’s enduring spirit.

“But, my dear students,” Mr. Ekene said, leaning forward with a hint of intrigue in his voice, “our story does not end here. The eruption of Mount Cameroon was but a prelude to an even greater challenge that our people would face.”

The children leaned in, their curiosity piqued.

“Next week, we will explore a critical moment that followed, known as the 2048 Water Crisis. It was a time when the scarcity of water transformed our way of life. Cities struggled, farms withered, and our people faced hardships like never before.”

He paused, allowing the gravity of his words to sink in. “We will learn how this crisis affected not just our access to water, but how it reshaped our communities, our government, and even our hearts and minds. We will see how it led to public uproar, the involvement of the world, and the rise of new leaders like General Malrik.”

The students murmured among themselves, the names and events sparking questions and whispers.

“And most importantly,” Mr. Ekene continued, “we will discover how this crisis brought about change in our society’s perception of water, leading to new innovations and a cultural revolution in how we view and value this essential resource.”

He stood up, his figure casting a long shadow as the sun began to dip below the horizon. “So, until next week, I want you to think about how something as simple as water can become so precious in times of need and how it can change the course of history.”

The children rose, their minds buzzing with thoughts of what lay ahead. As they dispersed, the story of Mount Cameroon and the looming tale of the water crisis lingered in the air, a reminder of the ever-evolving narrative of their land and people.

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