Interesting Situations

Develop a Scene and Situation from the Picture Below

Use the following National Geographic picture as the basis for your story.  Bring your story and yellow and pink highlighter to the next meeting. At the meeting, we'll pass the stories around and let the reviewer highlight with yellow every passive verb and with pink every adverb or adjective. Then during the discussion phase, the reviewers will recommend 2 or 3 ways to possibly make the story stronger.

A Blessed Family

    The water is shoulder deep and the current strong, but Nguta doesn’t dare return to shore. Strapped to her back, Ptutai, her daughter, cries out as the water slaps at her face. Nguta sings to her hoping she will go back to sleep.

    Raised in the ways of the Haguva, ‘the people’, Nguta, like all the women of the village, fishes the Okavango River with her child on her back. Ptutai will also need to learn how to fish someday. All women must fish or the people will die.

    A swirl in the water to her left draws Nguta’s attention. Could it be a river monster lurking in the reeds? Some of the women lost hands and arms defending their children from the crocodiles. She must remain vigilant and not let that happen. Her man would never forgive her for such carelessness. 

    The heavy rains came early this year. Even though a blessing for the farmlands, the flooding makes fishing more difficult. Yet, Nguta knows she dare not return to shore without a few fish in her basket. She has to feed the family until her man can harvest the crops.

    Nguta focuses on the water’s surface in front of her. She looks for the shiny reflections that indicate a school of fish. Her hands hold the wide circular basket tight as she sweeps it through the water, first one direction and then the other. Still nothing. “It appears we are in for a long day, Tai-tai.”

    Nguta loses her footing and slips under the water. When she regains her footing and surfaces, Ptutai coughs up water, and then sobs her displeasure for the unexpected bath. Nguta reaches behind her head and rubs her child’s cheek. “It will be okay, Tai-tai, it is only water. I’ll try to be more careful. Now shish, my little one, you’ll scare away the fish.”

    “My basket–where is my basket?” Nguta cries out as she wipes the water from her eyes. She searches the area around her for the fishing basket her mother made the basket for her when she was still a child. To lose it would be a great loss.  

    A shout from further downriver draws her attention. Nguta shades her eyes with her hands to see who called her name. Her friend, Tguba, holds her basket she dropped high in the air. Thank you Mother River, you are too kind. She smiles as she waves to her friend and allows the strong current to move her towards her prized possession. “You see, Tai-Tai, we are indeed a blessed family.”