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Waiting for Rain

Posted Mar 22 2009 8:06am
In the States, the silver lining, the sunshine after a particularly heavy rain storm, is a symbol of hope but here the hope is rain itself. The heat seems to build in intensity until you feel the power of the sun wringing all moisture from your body and withering your skin with the smallest of its rays. Then at its climax the skies break open and release all the stolen water with the same intensity. The rains have not started in earnest yet this year but we have had a couple of storms and I have been caught in three of them. Warm, instantly drenching, restorative. Moments before the storm, the wind lifts the dust, coloring the sky a smoky red and carries ubiquitous plastic bags high over head. Then the drops fall and any one without shelter is soaked running home through warm rain and newly formed rivers. Today I’m waiting for the rain. The past few days have been hot. I try to avoid going outside and for my walks to and from the hospital I wear a hat, sun glasses, and a long sleeve shirt always arriving at my destination - even at 8 in the morning - dripping with sweat. In the hospital I don’t notice the heat much – distracted by tasks and conversations but I notice the patients without fevers sweating in their beds in sunny patches on the wards. In the afternoon on my way back to the trotro I often buy two sachets of water and drink the entire liter with little pause - my need for water more urgent than my need for air. When I arrive at home I head directly for shower, peel off the sweaty clothes off plastered to my skin and step into the flow cold water. During the weekends we sweat constantly in the house and avoid the bedroom in the middle of the day where the sun’s rays are most intense even through the curtains. The heat is debilitating. It steals away all motivation and shortens the slide into lethargy. On nights following days like these I am often asleep by eight o’clock. Now I am eagerly awaiting the wind which blows through the house before a storm, making the curtains puff like sails and then dance gracefully into the rooms from their rods. I am eager for the deafening sound of the rain on the roof. Mostly of all I am ready for the cool which follows and the clouds.

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