Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Wet Start to the Dry Season

Most of Africa has only two distinct seasons: the wet and the dry. For equatorial Africa, spring and autumn are irrelevant when it's burning hot year round. For my little corner of the world, while the temperature does vary with the season, by far the most noticeable difference is the level of precipitation. During the hot summer months, rain is frequent. It rarely falls during the day, but I swear it rained every night in January this year. Winter is much different. It doesn't rain at all, not one drop, during the dry season. All the plants dry up, the landscape turns brown and ugly. Goats reach new levels of desperation in their endless quest for food. At least that's the theory anyway.

In reality, I haven't seen the sun for three days. It's been raining, or at least drizzling, all day, everyday. The high temperatures are only in the mid-fifties. It's cold and wet. In my opinion, that's the very worst weather combination. It's absolute misery. While the rain continues, the cold has done it's duty and most plants are dead. The school garden's moment in the sun is well over for this year. I'll try again next year, when and if it warms up enough to be outside again. Thankfully, I have wonderful neighbors and colleagues who cleverly invested in space heaters. As it is my last winter in South Africa, I can't quite bring myself to buy my own, but they certainly are nice. It's good to have feeling in my fingers and toes at least once a day.

I was quite toasty this morning, when the heater in the computer lab was turned on. Unfortunately, the heater sucked up what little electricity is available in that room and the lights promptly flickered and died, along with all the computers. *sigh* I switched off the heater. Maybe I can rip it out of the wall and take it to my house? Surely no one would notice. The sad part is that after a multitude of charities (including US-funded) outfitted the tiny, African classroom with heaps and loads of modernity and expensive electronic equipment, the space simply couldn't handle it and now it's mostly functionally useless. Shame. At least we get a good metaphor out of it.

On the bright side, I've booked myself an upcoming weekend in Kuruman. May hot showers, great food and excellent company ensue!

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