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Emmanuella’s Article: Earthquake Panic in a Small Town in Ghana

Article #6 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
Waiting for the Earthquake to Strike
By Boateng Emmanuella, Age 14

Around two o’clock in the morning, neighbors ran from door to door yelling for people to come outside.

“An earthquake is going to happen!” they screamed.

Emmanuella, the student author of this piece.
Emmanuella, the student author of this piece.

In my lifetime, Ghana has never experienced an earthquake, and so everyone panicked. People poured outside with their children and their belongings so that the buildings shouldn’t collapse upon them once the ground began to move.

I was twelve years old and my mom shouted, “Emmanuella, won’t you wake up?” She ran to rouse my younger brother and sister, Chris and Schorlarstica. Instead of moving, I just peeped out the door crack then fell back to sleep. My whole family, however, had sprinted outside. When my mother found out later that I had remained in bed, she was furious!

The giant sun in Ghana.
The giant sun in Ghana.

Because people didn’t want to die, they all came out — even the one year old babies at their mothers’ backs. My whole neighborhood was standing on the roadside from two o’clock in the morning until five o’clock am, terrified, just waiting for the giant earthquake to come.

But nothing happened.

Early in the morning, they broadcasted on Radio Tongu that no earthquake would happen. Still, however, people were afraid. Some of them remained at the roadside for hours, trembling.

Me, I started to do my house chores: washing my junior brother’s school uniform and dusting the furniture. After doing everything, I took my bath as I usually do, using buckets of water and a cup. It wasn’t until I was about to leave for school that the scared people outside began to pack their belongings back into their houses, and other children started their house chores.

On her bike in Sogakope, Ghana.
On her bike in Sogakope, Ghana.

When I got to school, there was nobody there, so I went to the Headmaster’s house to obtain the key to the school and I opened the school doors myself. Eventually, students and teachers began to come.

During break, everybody started to talk about the earthquake that was supposed to happen but did not. A friend of mine claimed that it was actually her uncle from Bolgatnga who had called her mom on the telephone to come out of the room, thus starting the earthquake panic. Others said it was the weather forecasters who had made the mistake.

A girl in grade six called me over and said, “Do you know what they have said? They said that it was the armed robbers who planned the earthquake rumor! Those who were not in their room were robbed… and they’ve robbed us too! All of our belongings!”

“Sarah,” my friends and I asked, “Where were you and your family before you were robbed?”

“We were among the people who were at the roadside,” Sarah replied. “By the time we get back inside, all our belongings had vanished.”

“Vanished?” we echoed.

“Yes,” said Sarah sadly, “vanished.”

We thought it was a joke and started to laugh, but soon we saw that Sarah was about to cry.

Emmanuella with friends in Ghana.
Emmanuella with friends in Ghana.

“Sarah, sorry!” I cried out, and I asked her to come to my house and stay with me until everything became settled. I told her I would contact her parents and tell them.

“Wow!” Sarah gasped, so surprised that I would take her into my home. She ended up staying with me and my family for two weeks.

Another girl said that she had read a book about an earthquake, and in it, all the buildings collapsed, and thousands of people died. Those who were not under any buildings died, too, because the ground opened up like a mouth and swallowed them up, then closed back upon them.

“What a sad story!” we sighed. “Tell us the name of the book so we may read it!”

Break was then over, and everybody got back to their classroom. The false earthquake rumor caused so much confusion and panic, but how glad we were that it had only been a rumor!

Unfortunately, our brothers and sisters in Haiti were not so lucky. We in Ghana send all our love to the earthquake victims of Haiti, and we wish them strength in rebuilding their country!

Lillie’s Note: Did you enjoy Emmanuella’s article? Please leave an encouraging comment, question, suggestion, or compliment, and state your location! Also, just so you know, the books that students are holding up in their author photos are their favorite novels that they’ve read in the donated YCC library– they’re not just random books!


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Minh N.

Tuesday 17th of November 2015

This is a really interesting story. I hope your friend, Sarah, has her stuff back and everyone in Ghana won't be tricked by that trick again. I have to say it's sad for your friend. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story though, I learn something from it.

NgocBich N.

Monday 16th of November 2015

I like how you wrote your story, it was interesting to see how people in Ghana react about the earthquake even know it was just a rumor. I'm also curiuos about how the rumor got there and why did they believed it.

Tyler N.

Monday 16th of November 2015

This article was very well written and I hope everyone is all right.

Triston X.

Thursday 14th of June 2012

I think that the girl is very kind. She is a good friend because she let her friend stay with her. I hope the girl's family got all her stuff back. It is very scary when people spread rumors around that is not true. I never knew Africa could have earthquakes because Africa isn't near the continental plates. So Africa won't get as much earthquakes.

Fiona Phie

Wednesday 7th of December 2011

You are inspiring to me; to let that girl stay with you. You are so kind.

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