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E Jean Beres
In Africa, where Chiamaka lives, it is very hot and dry.
Sometimes Chiamaka has to wait for many days before a cloud drifts over his small village and brings rain.
Sometimes it does not rain for many months.
"Chiamaka, what are you doing?" mama calls, glancing out the window in their thatched hut while stirring the potato stew she is cooking.
"Spitting on the corn seeds to make them grow," answers Chiamaka.
"The corn will not grow that way."
"Then it must rain, where is the rain?" Chiamaka asks, stamping his foot on the ground and throwing his baseball cap.
"Patience, you must have patience, son," mama explains.
Chiamaka shades his eyes and stares up at the hot sky.
There he sees a very small puff of white.
"Mama, look a cloud!"
Chiamaka begins to dance around the sandy mound that covers the corn seeds.
Mama looks out the window and up at the sky.
"It is no rain cloud yet, Son. Not every cloud brings the rain."
Angrily, Chiamaka kicks at the dry dust on the ground.
"But I want it to rain! Rain, do you hear me cloud?" he yells at the sky. "Rain!" he yells again, stomping his feet and shaking his fist at the sky.
"Stop your yelling and come in out of the hot sun. God will give us rain when it is time."
Chiamaka watches as the small cloud begins to drift away.
Angrily, he kicks the tree trunk.
"Stop that at once, Chiamaka! I have told you that you must have patience."
"I don't like patience," he grumbles, stamping his foot. "Come back cloud! Come back now!"
Chiamaka waves his small fist in the air and kicks the side of the hut then stamps on his baseball cap.
A gentle breeze moves the small cloud father away from the village.
Then, the very small cloud stops.
Chiamaka does not take his eyes off the cloud.
Suddenly, the cloud begins to zig and zag across the hot sky, it drifts this way and that way.
Chiamaka picks up his baseball cap, shakes out the sand and puts it on his head and chases after the small cloud.
He tries to keep up with the cloud, but the cloud does not stop and give him time to rest.
"Are you playing with me?" asks Chiamaka.
The small cloud moves again then settles over a herd of elephants.
Then it moves again and settles over a group of zebras.
Again the small cloud moves and stops over some lions who are taking a nap.
All the animals seem to be waiting patiently for something.
They are not running or playing in the hot sun like Chiamaka, who is very tired from all the running and lays down on the hot, dry grass to rest.
Suddenly, the very small cloud grows into a very big rain cloud.
Chiamaka jumps up and watches as rain begins to fall over all the animals.
The rain falls hard and fast making big puddles, soaking the ground, watering the trees and plants.
All the animals begin to drink the water and then they play in the pools and puddles cooling their bodies.
Soon a family of hyenas joins them, then giraffes and monkeys.
"What about me?" yells Chiamaka at the cloud, "Rain on me, too."
The rain continues to fall and more and more animals gather together to drink and play in the cool water.
Chiamaka runs towards the rain and all the animals.
The big cloud begins to zig and zag across the sky.
As Chiamaka gets closer, the cloud moves in another direction.
Again, Chiamaka becomes very tired from chasing the cloud.
"I cannot chase you anymore," he says, out of breath. "I am tired of running."
He sits down on the dry grass and puts his head in his hands.
After a long moment, he looks up at the cloud in wonder.
Then a voice calls his name,"Chiamaka."
Chiamaka's eyes grow big.
Who is calling his name? He sees no one around.
"Who is calling my name?" he asks. "Where are you?"
Then the voice speaks again. "Be still and know that I am God."
The cloud suddenly shades him from the hot sun and the cool rain washes gently over him.
Chiamaka smiles, catches the rain in his cupped hands and drinks the fresh, cool water.
Then he fills his baseball cap with rain and throws it over his head.
The cool rain feels wonderful.
Then he stops himself and looks around again, remembering the voice.
Mama told him about God, the creator of the world and everything in it.
Mama reads him stories from the Bible and knows who God is.
Many times Chiamaka hears her talking to Him.
"Are you still here, God?" he asks.
"I am always here, Chiamaka."
Chiamaka runs back to his village to tell mama that God spoke to him and about the rain cloud and how the rain poured all over him and about the animals and how the dry land turned into puddles and pools.
"There you are. I have been calling for you," says mama.
Chiamaka looks around surprised. "It rained in our village!" he says in wonder.
"Of course. All in God's good timing. Stay home now, dinner is almost done."
"Mama, God spoke to me."
"He did? What did He say?"
"He told me to be still and know that He is God."
"Yes, that sounds like Him."
"And he said He is always here, Mama."
Chiamaka looks around at all the sudden tiny sprouts of plants that are peeking through the
ground and the once dry leaves on trees that are now fresh looking.
He runs to the small mound where he had planted the corn seeds.
There, tiny holes have broken through the ground and inside Chiamaka can see tiny green sprouts.
Chiamaka runs inside the house.
"We will have corn, Mama. I have seen the tiny corn in the holes!"
"Yes, God provides."
"I have decided something."
"And what could that be, Son?" mama asks, as she takes the pot of potato stew off the fire.
"I will no longer kick at the ground, or kick the tree or kick our house."
"That is good, Chiamaka."
"And I will no longer get angry and have tantrums if I do not get my way."
Mama sets the pot of potato stew on the small wooden table.
"Hmmm," she says, smiling. "That is even better."
"And I think that maybe patience is not so bad."
Mama touches Chiamaka's cheek. "You have learned a very valuable lesson, Chiamaka."
Chiamaka goes back outside and looks around at the happy villagers, the rain soaked land, and then he looks up at the clear blue sky without a cloud in sight.
"Thank you, God," he whispers.
In answer, a single, golden rain drop falls out of the sky and lands on the tip of Chiamaka's nose.
Giggling, he gives God a thumbs up gesture then runs back into the house to set the table for mama.
The name Chiamaka means - God is splendid.
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