It's rained during the afternoon for three days in a row, so I think it's official that the season of the Long Rains has begun. Which I am very happy about, for the following reasons:
1. The rain cools everything down. Normally at this time in the afternoon it would be about 89 degrees in my little partitioned office. But it's refreshingly brisk. Seeing that I basically missed Winter this year, it feels great.
2. Our maize (corn) will grow. I spent Saturday with my host dad hoeing, fertilizing and planting the field next to our house (a.k.a., "shamba") and he said that as long as we got rain within a week, the maize would start sprouting and the seeds wouldn't die. After the rain Sunday afternoon, he proclaimed, "God loves us!" I told him I'd gone out to a village and had done a rain dance with the witchdoctor. ;-) Planting was hard, hard work, but a lot of fun. I've got some nice blisters on my hands and I think the soles of my feet may be permanently stained the color of the orange dirt.
3. The people will eat. A large number of people out here in the sticks of Western Province are subsistence farmers. So if it doesn't rain, and their crops don't grow, they are in big trouble.
So, it's a good thing all around. With the exception of women's hairdos: weaves, braids and extensions do not like getting wet. No good at all. Fortunately, most women have a shower cap or cloth to protect their hair, or in a pinch, a plastic bag. My hair just turns into a frizz bomb, which is nothing new..
To answer my questions from a few weeks ago:
What about everyone on the streets trying to get home, etc?
If you're inside and it starts pouring, you stay where you are and wait it out. If you're on the street, you duck under an overhang for however long it takes. If people see you running around and getting soaked, they will invite you to come under their thatch vegetable stall or whatnot. It's understood that meetings, etc. will be delayed accordingly.
What about all the mud-dung/ structures out in the villages? Do the walls hold up?
I think so... apparently these huts can last for forty years. You just re-dung the floors and walls once a year (it doesn't smell or anything) and re-thatch every couple of years.
What about the puppies at my fellow intern’s host family’s house? Dogs are NOT let inside here, so I guess they’ll just find a shed or barn to camp out in?
Awww, how sweet and American of me worrying about the dogs. I'm sure they're fine.
What about the all the women who line the road and sell used clothing and random kitchen supplies on my way home? Will they have to stop selling all of rainy season? Or is it so predictable that they know when to pack up?
Predictable. You can kind of tell when the clouds are gathering and it's about to rain -- it reminds me of the South West. The produce market operates if its a light rain, but everyone covers their goods or packs up if it starts pouring. Kids will continue to have recess and play soccer, hangout outside, etc. unless it really starts coming down.
What about the gang of street boys? Are the trash piles going to get too wet to sort through? Where do they sleep anyways? There’s another intern who just got here who is going to join an org that works with street kids, so I’ll find out soon.
Oy. Don't know about that one. Though everything dries pretty quickly in the sun, I can't imagine that getting soggy helps the garbage any. Yikes.
I've pledged to myself to keep these pretty short, so I'll sign off.
P.S. Mom & Dad: I got malaria last week but am fine now. It was like a getting food poisoning with a headache and joint aches. The great part was that my doctor's visit only cost 300 shillings ($4), my lab test was 50 shillings ($.65) and my malaria-and-pain killing medicine was only 8 bucks. Doctor Odongo was both the doctor and the cashier. Love it! And no insurance paperwork! Even better!
You can thank Will for making me go to the doctor, when I thought it was just an upset stomach and that I would be fine in a day. Hah! And yes, I was taking my Doxycycline (anti-malarial) but I guess it's not 100% effective, eh? :)
7 years ago