BIG news today, folks! The Mango Rain came!!!!! Ok- more like a Mango Sprinkle, but still! Those few drop felt fabulous!
The climate here in Burkina is kind of creepy if you are used to "real" weather, with proper seasons and such. Here you get your hot, slightly humid season, followed by a less hot dry season, then a VERY hot dry season, finishing off with a hot rainy season. As you can see, there is kind of a theme....... The only way to get fresh, cool air is to stand right in front of an air-conditioner - which, btw, I actually I do from time to time. I spritz some pine-scented air freshener around at the same time, to get a maximum psychological coolig effect going. I also frequently read books about early 19th explorations at the Poles. It all gets my cold mojo working. If a person is allowed to have a cold mojo.
But I digress.
We are now in the middle of the VERY hot season. Temperatures are between 99 and 110 most days. Which may not sound too hot to any of you living in places with severe summer heat. But the difference is that here comfort is hard to come by. There are few air-conditioned stores and most of your shopping is done outdoors at the marketplace. There is little greenery, except for the small oasis you can create in your yard with generous watering from a garden hose. And there's that hot, dry wind full of red grit and Saharan sand. Let's just say "nice" days are hard to come by.
So, it's the middle of the hottest time of the year and we haven't seen a drop of rain since September. Six months without a tiny bit of precipitation. The city reservoirs are quite low. The grazing is thin and the goats and sheep are looking gaunt. The leaves on the trees have thinned out. We are all looking forward to the rains beginning in June. The whole country will green up in a matter of days. The Mango Rain is a preview- a little reminder not to give up hope. It's just a short rain that comes once in the month of March. People say it's necessary for a good mango harvest. And mangos are important, believe me. People here will just about kill each other over the rights to a mango tree. If you are walking down a road in Burkina and see a ripe mango on a tree, for pete's sake, DON'T touch it! There is NO free food in Burkina- resources are scarce and people go hungry. That tree belongs to someone and they know exactly how many mangos are on it. I just heard from a missionary friend how one of her womens' projects has just about come apart due to an arguement over a mango tree. Did our medieval ancestors come to blows over chestnut trees? No doubt they did.
Anyway, back to that rain. I went out and stood in it. It smelled funny, as the first rain always does. It has to clean six months worth of staleness. But it was nice. Water out of the sky! What a concept!