Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The rain is thunderous, arriving deftly, carried in on great gusts of wind. The rain in Ghana, and perhaps in all of Africa for that matter, is celebrated, embraced and then cursed between sneezes and bouts of malaria by people standing in mud with damp clothes on.

“I’m sorry the rain is beating you." Yes the rain does beat. It thumps on
tin roofs, uproots umbrellas on small mango stands and washes roads into rivers. The rain gives, but it also takes. I met an elderly woman recently whose house and businesses flood during the rainy season. Each year she moves to the top floor of a nearby building and watches as her small chop bar (food stall) is swallowed by the rains. Last week, under a drizzly sky, she stood on her toes to reach the brown water lines on the wall of her house.

The rains inspire movement, or a series of motions, that normally takes three hours but all of a sudden takes three minutes. Children are swaddled on backs, food stalls collapsed and goods covered up before flip-flop-clad feet clop off for shelter. Those are the people that run from the rains. The ones that stay -- the women in the market choked with human traffic, the gleeful schoolchildren, the football players -- they dance, skip, jump and open their mouths to the glorious rains.

I remember the first time I felt rain in Ghana, and like the first snow that blankets the dirt and pavement in Canada it is beautiful in its simplicity and its ability to transform dry to wet and dirty to clean.

It now rains daily. Sometimes it’s a scampering, inspiring drizzle; other times
it’s worthy of placing a plastic bag on my head. Mostly though it encourages me to take shelter wherever I can find it, with the comfort of people who are just as in awe of the rains as I.

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