Singing in the Rain…
I’ve come to learn that you don’t miss something until it’s gone…and that lesson is a recurring theme in my life. It has not rained in Nigeria since November (actually around Thanksgiving weekend). There were a few rain drops in December but it quickly dissipated in the heat of Abuja. Going four months without experiencing a rain shower has an effect on everything. Many of the trees have turned brown and some are even without leaves. The ground is so dry that during the day, the city is encapsulated in a dusty fog that coats everything from cars to the furniture in your apartment. This dusty fog is considered a season in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. They call it “Harmattan.”
Nigeria is always hot, during this time of the year, we hover around the 100 degree mark. Sometimes it is hard getting motivated to enter the dry dusty heat that awaits outside my door. But last Sunday (March 7), we got a brief but refreshing rain shower that lasted only 20 minutes. And on Monday, March 16 we got thunder and another brief rain shower. It was nice that the rains had returned…however, it is only a passing shower. The Harmattan season has a few more weeks before the clear air returns to Nigeria.
But as refreshing as rain is to me, it is not viewed the same by millions of people living in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Because of the lack of infrastructure on the continent, the rains brings flooding, impassable roads and disease. The mosquitos’ population expands during the rains which brings about the threat of malaria and other illnesses that affect both people and livestock. Rain is extremely important as without it, crops would not grow and the water source would decrease.
When I was living in South Sudan, the heavy rains between April and November often times brought society to a halt. Flooded roads at the border of South Sudan and Uganda trapped delivery trucks and passenger buses for weeks. Because most of the food and merchandise sold in South Sudan was transported in from Uganda, shelves would often empty over time as supplies were stuck at the border. It was a lesson for me in life of the developing world. One week a pineapple would be $2 and the following week $7 because of the rains. Life in the developing world is always teetering on disaster…
I so enjoy your stories from across the planet.