Friday, October 28, 2011


I don’t believe rainy season officially starts until next week, but the skies have opened up.  The other day it started pouring at 3 pm and didn’t stop until after 9 p.m.  I live in Florida and know tropical rains.  This was a doozy.  I’m guessing we got at least 5 inches of rain.  Grass has now gone from yellowish brown to verdant green.

I discovered that installing a cardboard ceiling to cover a tin roof with holes in it doesn’t work really well during heavy rains.  My ceiling leaked.  Unfortunately, the majority of the leaks were over my bed and over where I cook.  But the power went out so cooking was a non-issue.  I just threw a couple of trash bags over my bed and slept under them.

Given that many families here, including mine, live in open houses with no walls, I don’t think it would be prudent to complain about a bit of dampness in my palagi house.  At least I have an indoor toilet.  I guarantee you if I didn’t I’d be peeing in my laundry bucket.

Because I have impeccable timing, I’d hung a bucket of laundry out to dry about an hour before the deluge started.  At least I knew the rain would get out all the soap I didn’t while rinsing.  Sadly, though, some heavy winds accompanied the rain.  They blew my towel off the line.  Into the sand.  I hate washing sheets and towels by hand.  Having to rewash them I hate even more.  It is now two days later and my clothes are still hanging, damply, from the line around my bed that holds my mosquito net.  Just call me Ma Kettle.

One of the things I love here is to watch the storms moving in across the ocean.  I can see sheets of rain coming and not to brag, but have gotten quite good at predicting exactly when they will hit my house.  I was chatting with one of my family when I realized the rain was about to hit, so excused myself to head into my house.

I then watched in amazement as every Samoan in the village came out of their houses.  Not an umbrella in sight.  The kids next door were riding their bikes in the rain (the only kids, btw, that i’ve seen with bikes in my village).  People were strolling to the shop.  The young men were playing rugby.  My youngest host sister was “swimming” in a giant puddle until her big brother yanked her out and gave her a smack. 

I asked my host brother about it the next day and he laughed.  He said “During the dry season we feel like we live in the Kalahari, so when it rains we like to be in it and get wet.” 

I’ve never lived in the Kalahari, but for 28 years I lived in the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  By definition, that means we got 10 inches or less of rain a year.  I understand getting geeked up about rain.  But even in the dry season it rains at least once a week here.  And, if they want to get wet, there’s a beautiful lagoon just a few feet away.  That I rarely see anyone in. 

I get that life and outdoor chores go on, rain or shine.  But will rugby in the pouring rain continue to be a trend?  I’ll let you know.  In the meantime, please say a prayer or cross your fingers that I can time my laundry right or I’ll be either wearing a lot of dirty clothes or a lot of clean but wet clothes.

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