You can smell the rain first. The scent of greenery and dampness fills your nostrils on every inhale. Erratic and cool gusts of wind guarantee the inevitability of a coming storm. The winds push the dark heavy moisture filled clouds over the mountains of the Fuuta Jallon into Kedougou.
Thunder rumbles in the distance. The sound is identical to the noise of the giant camion engines that transport delights like avocados, bananas and pineapples over the mountains of Guinea–except this rumble brings with it an entirely different type of pleasure.
Then darkness. The countdown begins. Woman rush to gather laundry airing on tree branches and along their bamboo fences. Men hurry home from work on their bicycles and motos anxious to ride faster than the wind carrying the clouds. Older children are sent out to retrieve the goats tethered to the ground to keep them from eating the corn fields. The babies squeal in nervous anticipation. With one final look at the sky, everyone rushes for shelter in their small thatch roofed huts.
It starts with just a few drops. Barely noticeable. Then, in an instant, the heavens implode and water pours from the sky. The dry ground sucks up the first few minutes of rain until it can no longer keep up with the sheer volume. The ground turns muddy and rivets emerge to leading water to puddle on low ground. It continues like this–for minutes or hours. Nothing to do but wait. Wait till the clouds empty, or until the winds send the clouds away to another parched corner of West Africa. And the waiting? That’s the best part…
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.