Rain in Dakar and the Pride of Barbados

It rained today. It also rained the previous night. I grew to love the equator zone where it rains and shines any moment any day. Here in Dakar rain is a mighty blessing, especially, if it arrives in the month of June. I got very excited when I looked into the sky today and realized it resembled my sky back home. Heavy and dark, the black clouds pregnant with rain. I prayed they would deliver. I have noticed miscarriages before. I look up to behold dark, rainy clouds that give no rain eventually. False clouds.

Today they released a light shower, a shower all the same. It cleared the air that was swollen with dust and germs. A colleague says June is a month of infections in Dakar. That’s when adults and children get trapped in sneezing spells, allergy attacks, coughs and all kinds of respiratory challenges. It’s also the month of transition. You tend to pity the year when it’s deciding a dramatic change. Half the time the weather is bearable, the other half is hot, humid and torturous. Power cuts become common, making the torridity intensely felt where there’s no generator. The rain seems to be the announcer officially declaring the end of a season and the beginning of another.


The night it rained, Sandra, my friend from the equator smelled the rain from a far and called to say I should step out on the balcony and put my nose out in the air. I did and was astonished that a cool wind was blowing, and I could sense the coming of rain. But since rain in Dakar is almost unheard of, I asked her if we were about to witness a miracle. Ten minutes later the heavens opened and poured out their gift. We were ecstatic. Sandra uttered four r’s that captured our mirth: rain, rebirth, rejuvenation, rejoice!


Now it is officially hot. The cool season is over. The sun is fierce. The sunflowers and the Pride of Barbados, the latter also called the Red Bird of Paradise, seem to be in competition with the sun. They’re eagerly blazing, clearly flourishing best in the full sun. While I come out of the heat panting and feeling like a fish taken out of sea, I can’t help but admire these full-sun loving plants in their screaming red and orange hues, stretching forth with praise, singing and bursting, ‘the sun is the giver of life.’  They are helping me cope. Instead of the usual complain; ‘It’s very hot,’ I try to say, ‘Hurrah, the sun is here in resplendent glory, energy, summer, radiance, heat,’ and run quickly to the fridge for some ice. Oh, Pride of Barbados, you do wear your pride well. I wish I had your resilience. Go on ablaze!



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