Shots are being fired. People are dead and steadily dying around you. As a mother with your children with you, what do you do? That’s what one mom had to find out. The panicked mother (identified by NBC as Faith Wambua-Luedeling) caught in the chaos, knew she had to keep her young children still and quiet if they wanted a chance to survive. So, even as gunshots rang the air, she began to sing. She soothed her children as they “played dead” for hours–nearly five hours to be exact–while hiding from the militant gunmen who had laid siege to the Kenyan mall they were in.
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The family’s terror began when a group of gunmen charged into Nairobi’s Westgate Mall last September, opening fire on unsuspecting shoppers. Faith, who had been shopping with her young son and daughter, grabbed the children and hurried to a corner, where they lay face down on the ground and tried not to move. “We were just lying there — there would be shooting going on, then it would stop,” she told NBC News last year of the terrifying experience. “There were times I could hear the bullet casing dropping on the floor near us. We could smell the gunpowder and we would really be scared.”