Camping was one of the activities that Cevin Donald and his friends always indulged in during the holidays. They had made plans to do a lot of fun things together in summer, but little did they know that the monsoon season was not far away.
One fateful morning while CD and his friends, Jane, Derrick, Niall and Andrea, were camping in a natural reserve near their town, they woke up to find their tent flooded with water. They all rushed outside with their belongings.
They discussed what to do and settled on looking for another suitable shelter and CD came up with an idea of building a treehouse. They moved to a higher ground where there were also a lot of trees and shelter, as they would be better protected there from the weather.
They split up in two groups to look for sticks, thatched grass and papyrus in the forest. CD went together with Jane, while Derrick, Andrea and Niall went together.
CD and Jane, while on the lookout for the materials, encountered a big rattle snake which was very terrifying and enormous. Jane was very frightened because she had never came face to face with a snake before in her life. CD tried to calm her down and took a stone and hit the snake, which killed it. They then continued their search for the building materials.
On the other hand, Derrick, Niall and Andrea got some materials they were looking for and returned to their meeting place. Thirty minutes later, CD and Jane arrived carrying some materials. They told the others what had happened and everyone felt worried.
Derrick was very hungry and they all agreed to eat before starting work. Since they could not cook in the wet weather, they ate some snacks that they had. After eating, they started building the treehouse on a firm and wide tree.
It took them about five hours to finish everything and then they moved their belongings into the house. By now it was late in the afternoon and Derrick asked if they could take a time off and rest. Hours passed by, the wind blew strong and rain poured down hard. The tree house was so cold that they shared blankets amongst themselves and huddled together to keep warm.
The next morning, they woke up very cold and hungry. They had breakfast of milk and cakes, then proceeded to swim in the ocean. At least that day, there was some sunshine that made them feel warm. After swimming, they relaxed on the beach, enjoying each other’s company while talking about the previous day.
Jane started complaining of stomach ache that made her feel uneasy. Derrick suggested that he had some medicine in his backpack in the tree house, so he left to get them.
On the way back to his friends, Derrick started running so as to get the medicines to Jane quickly. He tripped over a tree root that was not clearly visible, hurting his leg. Derrick writhed in pain and called out for his friends, but they were too far away to hear him. Derrick had to help himself up and saw a firm stick nearby, which he used for support in walking.
Then he remembered his first aid box which had fallen during the fall. He saw the box open and the contents spilled around. He collected whatever he could find and hoped that nothing important had been lost. Then he limped back in pain to his friends.
When they saw him limping, CD asked him what had happened. Derrick narrated how he had tripped on his way back. CD tore his shirt and tied it firmly onto Derrick’s leg and then they gave Jane some medicines to ease her stomach ache.
They decided to head back to the treehouse after a while as the weather had improved. CD helped Derrick to walk and Jane was feeling much better. As they arrived at the treehouse, everyone decided that it was time to look for help to leave this place. Most of their cellphones had drained their power charge and only Jane’s was working. They tried calling their parents, but the signal was very poor.
Their snacks were almost finished by now and they were all very hungry. CD and Niall decided to go for fishing while the girls looked for firewood and Derrick was left behind to rest. CD and Niall looked for sticks, sharpened them and got ready to fish in the ocean. They luckily caught a fish and had their first warm meal that night.
The next morning, they set out to look for help and climbed a high point from where they started calling out for help. No one seemed to be in the area to have heard them, so they returned to their treehouse very disappointed.
They had not expected this vacation to turn out as it had and were sad about it. They were also starting to become dehydrated because all their water had run out.
They continued to seek for help by calling their parents on the cellphone, but there was no signal in the area. Finally, they managed to get connected with Derrick’s aunt and they explained what had happened. The kids were not very sure about their location, since they had wondered off from where they had originally camped. She told them not to worry and she would find a way to rescue them.
The mood at the treehouse now became brighter, because now they had managed to connect with the outside world and help would now arrive. They decided to play games to pass the time. All the day passed and with the night came the rain, turning the weather cold again. Strong wind blew off and destroyed a part of their treehouse, which made it uncomfortable for them to stay in it.
The next morning, after the rain had stopped, they were too cold and tried to even try to repair their treehouse. The day was full of misery, disturbing thoughts and questions. They felt no one would come to rescue them. The silence was heart-breaking.
CD was sitting outside the treehouse when suddenly he heard a distant sound. He realised it was the sound of a helicopter nearby. In a few minutes, the helicopter buzz was all over the place and it passed over their treehouse. They all stood up with excitement, waved and shouted loudly for help.
The chopper could be seen circulating around the area they were in. The kids all came out in a clearing so that they could be seen easily and waved their hands in desperation. The pilot soon spotted the group and he landed safely nearby to rescue them.
Jane started crying with relief when a man came out of the helicopter towards them. What a sight they must have looked – dirty, tired and hungry!
Derrick was assisted by a paramedic to get into the chopper safely and they were airlifted directly to the hospital for check-up and treatment in case anyone was hurt and needed treatment.
Their parents were already at the hospital when the kids arrived since they had been immediately informed about the rescue. The kids were very excited to finally see their families and the parents were relieved to see the children alive and safe.
“All glory be to God!” said CD’s mother.
Published in Dawn, Young World, January 15th, 2022