I’ve never heard so much thunder in my life. I’ve now been here for a week and have heard thunder and seen lightening every day. Don’t get me wrong, it is dry season. That’s very clear, the ground is very telling. The red clay is cracked and dry and when it does rain it isn’t a slippery mess. Sometimes the water just roles off of the ground like it’s covered with some giant nature-made scotch guard. I walked up to a house across the gully last night after a downpour and basically was walking up a waterfall. The clay that would normally cause me to fall every step was solid but my feet were constantly bathed in the water flowing from the top of the hill downward and the steps up the hill was the path of least resistance. By the time dinner was over and I walked home, things were still wet but the standing water had all drained off the hillside or soaked into the ground and the evidence of the rain was just left on the damp leaves and other vegetation. Dry season in Walagu isn’t dry according to my definition of dry.
Dry season in my little western head means no rain, no growth, brown grass and dust. But dry season for the Onobasulu is planting time. The ground is generally drier and stronger but there is still lots of water. Things are growing well and there is plenty of food. The pineapples are currently starting to ripen and i’ve already been given 6. Dry season is a time of plenty. And it is indeed drier but not what anyone from a non-tropical place would consider dry. Just the other night there was a rain storm that caused flooding and washed out a couple bridges, by the morning the water levels were fine again but that just goes to show that dry season doesn’t mean no rain.
I’ve found it interesting to watch the cloud patterns as well. People here can hardly believe that where I am from there are some days when you don’t see any clouds. Some days I don’t even believe that it’s possible anymore to have a cloudless sky. Some mornings I have been waking up to a clear view of Bosavi and Mount Sisa but by 8 o’clock they are clouded over just to emerge again later in the morning. Other mornings the fog is thick and heavy with water, misty, dreary and cold. But then be late morning although the sky is still heavily clouded there are bits of blue and sun and warm. That’s the difference between rainy and dry season. In rainy season the blue would never break through and the clouds would just hang over like a solid wet blanket, in dry season, the clouds move on.
And so there is kind of a nice balance. I currently have no need to worry about running out of water because my tank will stay full with these sporadic heavy rains. And as long as the sun keeps peaking its little head out each day the power will be happy too. I get to enjoy the beautiful views but also the sound of rain on the tin roof, which is really soothing except when the super heavy rains come and then it’s deafening. Each night I also look forward to the thunder which doesn’t always bring rain but usually there is lightening that flashes and lights up the whole house momentarily. My favorite thing is to be already in bed and almost asleep and to see the lightening flash across the backs of my eyelids.