Sunday, July 02, 2006

Let it Rain!

The rainy season has come to Togo and it’s enough to make us homesick for our Seattle area home. The temperature now occasionally drops down to 75 degrees which almost makes us feel like putting on our fleece. It’s still plenty hot during the day, especially out in the sun, but at least we have some relief. Seems like many of us are in a little better mood…just like in Seattle when the sun comes out after days of rain.

The attached photo of the gleeful girls showering in the water spout run-off during a rainstorm might help us all appreciate running water in our homes a bit more. They do not have running water in their home; in fact they are our neighbors and have to carry their water (on their heads, of course, in big basins) up our steep hill from the well below. Water is used sparingly when it is hard to come by—perhaps this is the reason we couldn’t help but hear the girls laughing and having so much fun in the steady run-off outside our home.

The second photo titled “Rinse Cycle” shows clothes that have been washed in that basin but not yet rinsed or hung to dry because of the fast moving storm. Aside from using the rivers, we haven’t seen clothes washed any other way but by hand in these big basins. We should also add that their method (double wash, double rinse, methodical rubbing) gets clothes just as clean, if not cleaner, than our machines.

The third photo is of a local farmer standing in his corn field with his one tool. He has used this tool to weed and cultivate his field. Before the rains started, we noticed tiny patches of ground all around us being tilled and planted. Once the rain started, the corn started coming up fast. It is dry land farming with no irrigation and it seems most households find at least a small area to plant some corn or yams. This farmer’s tool is the only “equipment” we see used in the fields.

The last bit of news about rainy season is that it also brings snakes out of the ground. We’re being a bit more careful where we walk. The Togolese don’t like snakes either, and each household is busy with their machetes cutting down the weeds and growth around their homes where snakes might want to hide. Our perception of the machete has changed since coming to Togo. It is one very useful tool here, as opposed to a weapon. It is not unusual to see boys of age 10 carrying them around and using them productively.

So, as we head with pleasure into our rainy season, we wish you a happy 4th and an enjoyable summer!