Saturday, July 25, 2009

almost a drought

spent the morning weeding around my 1 year old live fence and direct seeding a second line of living fencing with Jatropha curcas. busy work, really, to keep myself from being bored to death. in the meantime, wolfgang dicked around, chasing the hand hoe, and climbing the baobab tree and falling asleep in the branches. he's a good companion. later, when he woke up, he amazed me by growling at the approaching crowd of kids from the village i can't stand. they came over and annoyed me while he ran off a bit and glared at them through the weeds.

overall though, it was a nice morning since the sky was overcast (not starting to clear up now -- in other words, no rain today) but i feel a little blue. maybe it's because it just won't rain. the crops are small and sad and the soil is far too dry to start outplanting trees. last night -- once again -- clouds and thunder and lightning and all the boastings of a big rain and all we got was .25 mm. in the meantime, something has happened to the water tower and the water is white -- the color of watered down milk. it's a terrible color but doesn't smell or taste different, nor does it have any sediment settled at the bottom of the buckets. strange. luckily i have my water filter which manages to turn the water clear for my drinking.

i remember when i was younger, droughts in new jersey were inconvenient times. it would be hot and lawns would shrivel as suburban men wrung their hands at the moratorium on lawn watering. we couldn't wash cars or run through the sprinklers. people would talk about drought but as a kid, it didn't really feel like there was shortage of water -- it still came out of the faucets and showers, we still had food to eat, and what did a brown lawn really mean to me?

i don't think we're in a drought state here yet, as there have been an occasional substantial rain, but this rainy season is for sure not...rainy. it is DRY here and the crops are suffering. women have started to pray for rain and talk about rain is tinged with worry. what's strange is that almost every day there are rain clouds around and we can see it raining in other villages in the distance. it just seems to keep avoiding us. one can't help but feel a little superstitious and wonder if we've done something wrong. whom have we offended? shall we sacrifice one of our starving, emaciated cows to Yallah*? No rain but instead we are plagued by flies, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. it feels a little like the scourge of God. these days all i can do is hide on my bed using the bed net as a shield from the (literally) hundreds of flies in my hut that crawl all over everything, including me and all my skin infections that come from the scores of mosquito bites that come at night.

now that i write it all -- no wonder i'm depressed.

*Yallah = Allah = God

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