Skip to main content

Today's Forecast: Weird with a Chance of Rain

The weather has been doing weird things lately. In the midst of the dry season it’s suddenly become overcast and humid. And there’s a funny feeling hanging in the air. If we were on the East Coast or Gulf Coast of the United States I’d say it felt like a hurricane was coming. If we were in the Midwest I’d think it’s tornado season. But I don’t know what happens here when the weather goes berserk in the dry season.

Over the last few days we’ve actually heard a few rumbles of thunder and apparently it rained upcountry last Friday. Different Burundians will give you different reasons for the unseasonal mid-season rains and cloudiness. Many theories have to do with the Assumption on August 15. Not paying as close attention as I could have in Sunday School all those years ago, I finally asked my French teacher on Monday what the Assumption is and what it has to do with the weather. He explained the religious part to me – the rising of Mary to Heaven – but as for the rain, he didn’t know. A little research showed that rain is either good luck or bad luck on Assumption day, depending on where you live. And the best luck is apparently when it rains all day but then suddenly stops at church time. Today someone was finally able to tell me that the rain confirms Mary made it to Heaven.

Another dry-season rain theory has to do with cows. Apparently there’s always a mid-season rain that somehow helps out the cows. At first I couldn’t remember any rain after we arrived this time last year. But then I remembered that the night we landed it felt like it had just rained, so I guess we just missed the rain of the cow. It dried out quickly though; the weather was not like this last year until well into September.

The person who talked about the cow rain also told my friend with certainty that the real rains will begin between 15 and 20 September. On one hand, it’s fairly common knowledge that the short wet season starts during the second half of September so his prediction isn’t exactly earth shattering. On the other hand, I think it’s amusing that this fellow is so set on his specific dates, as if he consulted his Old Farmers’ Almanac, in a country where precision and specifics are virtually meaningless.

In general I don’t mind a warm, cloudy day giving me a break from the extreme sunshine. I don’t even mind the humidity because it’s the first time in weeks that I haven’t had a constant sore throat from the dryness and smoke. But I don’t like the look of the thunderheads that never materialize into storms, but never drift away either. It’s very yellow outside, which I always associate with a hurricane or severe thunderstorm. Part of the fun is the anticipation and then the storm actually arriving. But this storm never arrives. The weirdness in the air just hangs there.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Acid Bug

My blog will now join the short list of results that pop up when you search for "nairobi fly, acid bug" on Google. Mike was hit by one over the weekend.
The Nairobi fly is a small beetle that does not bite or sting, but based on its nickname acid bug, guess what it does? The insides of the bug are toxic, and if you smack it against your skin the juices cause a burning rash. They are common throughout East and Central Africa, and it's the season for them here in Burundi. We think Mike and his friend rode through a swarm of them on their bikes over the weekend, because his friend has some burn spots, too, and the spots appeared on both of them after they returned from the ride.
We've heard of two remedies to soothe the burning, but Mike hasn't tried either yet. One is to use toothpaste, the old-school white kind, and the other is to cut a potato and rub it on the burn area. Both the toothpaste and the potato are supposed to draw out the acid. If you wash the area imm…

What Goes Through My Head When I Lock My Door

When I'm alone in our apartment, or alone with Muffin, I lock the deadbolt, day and night. Here is my thought process:

I'm walking down the hallway toward my door. I nod "Hello" in a neighborly way to a man also walking down the hall. I enter my apartment (having had my key ready since I first got into the elevator because women are conditioned from an early age not to be fumbling for their keys in an area where the distraction of doing so might make them vulnerable to an attack) and close the door. I put my hand on the deadbolt but I don't turn it right away.

What if the guy who just walked by thinks I'm locking it because I'm afraid of him? 

It's not about him specifically, though, it's about being a woman alone in an apartment building. 

So what if he's offended? 

It's none of his business if I lock my door or not, unless he was planning to enter the apartment, in which case fuck him, I did the right thing by locking the door.

I'm a nar…

Book Review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

After you've read something, please consider leaving a line or two on Goodreads and Amazon. The authors appreciate it!

Here's my review as it appears on Goodreads.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this book in the beginning. I grew up in an old haunted house in New England, yet I'm always a skeptic. (99% of supernatural activity ends up being the wind or a cat — and cats are creepy as hell.) I liked reading the stories behind the stories, whether they debunked the legends or gave credence to them. I’ve always been interested in history and nonfiction and ghost stories are the old “fake news.” Entertaining but you shouldn’t necessarily take them at face value. As the book went on, I found the stories themselves no less interesting but the format became tedious.

A couple of the stories really stood out to me. There are many cases of ghost stories being used to control a narrative that makes people feel sa…