By Lanni Hammonds
Youth Journalism International
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, U.S.A. – When I first heard about the flooding in Australia, I freaked out a bit.
I mean, I had read Nancy Hsu’s hometown piece about Brisbane, and now this? Although I had never been in a major flood, I’ve been in the exact opposite – an extremely long drought.
People were dying because they couldn’t pay an electric bill, and without air conditioners, they simply couldn’t withstand the heat.
Texas passed laws banning coaches from making their athletes run laps in the sun, because they were having heat strokes.
Restaurants gave out free water to anyone who needed it, and there were many. There were water restrictions, too, some that remain today.
Many places that were in the center of the city shut down during the day because with all the concrete, temperatures would jump up another 15 degrees.
Traffic jams led to people dying in their cars. The heat was so bad in cars that you could literally leave a tray of cookie dough inside, and they would bake to perfection.
Sadly, it affected children and the elderly the most. When I was eight, I rode my bike to a park maybe a mile away.
At the time I was in Uvalde, a small town about an hour away from San Antonio where the heat was higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day.
I thought I had brought enough water, but I ran out. To top it all off, my bike got a flat.
As I started walking home, instead of feeling hotter, my body felt cold. I literally started shivering and chattering my teeth. I was showing the signs of a heat stroke. I still had a ways to go when I decided to lay down under a tree, where I eventually passed out.
Fortune was on my side that day. A local spray truck was passing by and called out to me.
Spray trucks spray pesticides in the air every few weeks to kill the tons of mosquitos that ravage south Texas. People aren't allowed to be outside when they spray. When I didn’t answer them, they rushed me to the hospital so I could be treated.
I know what it’s like; wondering if the weather is going to aid you or potentially help end you.
Many friends of mine have had heat strokes, and like me, must be cautious, for a second heat stroke is usually fatal.
I’ve suffered a flood – a flood of heat, and it’s left my health scarred for life.
My heart and best wishes go out to Nancy, and those who are suffering, no matter where it may be.
Keep the faith, don’t give up, and strive for a better tomorrow.