We could see the clouds massing and the sky growing an ever deeper shade of grey – but this is the heart of the dry season! It is not supposed to rain until late March or April, but it has. We had carried on walking from work to the vegetable kiosk, regardless of the few dollops of rain that were spattering the dust – and then the heavens opened. We took refuge inside among the peppers and pineapples. Squalls of water poured through the chicken wire walls, blowing the fruit off the shelves. The temperature must have fallen fifteen degrees in the space of two minutes. The two young men who would have served us , were far too busy trying to fix sacking over the mesh walls and failing completely. Soon the water that was pouring down the shallow ditch outside, overflowed into the kiosk and we found ourselves ankle deep. The actual storm drains seemed to be largely ineffective, clogged by months-worth of garbage.
Traffic suddenly disappeared – only the occasional okada driver, desperate for a fare.
I decided to make a bolt for it and dashed through the storm- soaked in seconds! ‘I might as well enjoy it,’ I thought . I couldn’t be any wetter so my run eased into a brisk walk.
Old Cemetry Road had turned into a river, a swirling, turgid stream of brown, debris-laden water pouring from the cemetery end of the road, eroding or reclaiming a channel that writhed and twisted , eventually cascading into a roadside ditch.
Nobody else was about – nobody shouting ‘oyibo’ at me, no vehicles ‘horning’ me, no goats, dogs or hens to stumble over – just me and the sound of the rain battering on the tin roofs and lashing what is left of ‘our’ tree. Nobody hammering of car parts into place, no wood chopping – just my feet slopping and squelching against the river flow, avoiding the larger and more unsavoury items of debris that were floating past.
When I reached home and pushed open the noisy, steel compound gate, even the giant padlock clanged mournfully as the deluge continued.
Ten minutes or so later and equally drenched, Caroline caught up with me, clutching a bag of veggies that she had no doubt acquired at a knock-down price.
Half an hour later the rain eased, leaving the air a lot cooler – a familiar freshness that summer rains back home used to bring, but if this is what one storm does to our road, what must the real rainy season itself be like? – and we have a ground floor flat – oooooer!.
No NEPA! We got out of our wet clothes and into cooking the tea by candle light – some things don’t change!