Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rain Rain Doh Doh*

* When my cousin was little she had some speech delays. One of the ways the pediatrician suggested helping promote speaking was singing songs. Her interpretation of "Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!" was "Rain, rain, doh, doh." She's totally normal now. Well...as normal as anyone in our family can be.

It's rained every day that I've been here except 2 I think. And as a reminder I've been here 59 days. It's rainy season so it's not a surprise, but seriously, Seattle has nothing on Nigeria. At least during the rainy season.

Rain here is different than in the US for a number of reasons.

1. The rain here sounds different. You can hear it trying to sneak up on you like a toddler learning how to tiptoe. It moves swiftly but has a distinctive sound that can stop you in the middle of a sentence so you can tilt your head and say "Rain is coming." Because most of the roofs here are metal and there is no need for insulation because it's never cold (and it would just get wet, moldy and infested anyway) the rain sounds different. If you are in a low roof building it can be incredibly loud when it's the middle of a downpour. So loud, in fact, that your conversations almost rise to shouting levels.

2. Rain is incapacitating here. The rain can be SO heavy SO fast that it's like instant flash flood level rain. Add that to the fact that there isn't much infrastructure for drainage and the like you quite literally have streets that become completely impassable within minutes of rain starting. And even if it only rains for a little while, it will rain again before the area has time to dry up. If it's raining really hard you know that whatever event or destination you are heading to will be delayed substantially. Hours even. Considering the major modes of transportation for the majority of people consist of either your feet or a motorbike you can see how people can't get places when it rains.

3. Leaky roofs are the norm and nothing to be concerned about. Due to both craftsmanship issues and harsh environmental conditions most buildings have leaks in them. When it rains hard or for hours on end the trusty standby buckets get dragged out and placed under the leaks to catch the water. No one bats an eye. It's just common and expected.

4. Rain is mostly a joyful events, even days on end. In the US we get cranky if it rains more than two days in a row. Here there is much greater perspective on rain. When it's rainy season people are grateful because they know it is feeding the ground for the plants and food that need it very much. You rarely hear anyone complaining about how the rain ruined their plans and is causing too many problems. It's a refreshing attitude and one I will try to keep when I am home in my comfy house with no roof leaks in the US.

5. My favorite, favorite thing about rain is that it keeps everything cooler and helps with pest control. As long as it keeps raining bugs tend not to reproduce (they hatch AFTER rainy season) and it stays nice and cool. In fact the past week has been particularly chilly. I had goosebumps in church the other day because it was so chilly and for almost the past week I've had to turn my air conditioner off at night because it's been too cold for it.

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