Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pula! (The Rains Down in Africa)

The Kalahari Desert covers almost 70% of Botswana, and while it isn't a desert with rolling sand dunes and little vegetation like the Sahara, it does not rain often. It rains so little in fact that I have not seen rain in about 5 months. It's been five months of clear skies and only a few clouds.

Then, yesterday around lunchtime, the clouds rolled in. They were big, grey thunderstorm clouds. They blocked out the sun and brought temporary relief from the 102 degree heat. I figured it was too hot to rain anyways and went back to work.

Right around 4pm, just as I was leaving work, there was a brief thundershower. I never thought I would miss rain but it was great.

Pula (Poo-lah) is the Setswana word for rain. It is also their unit of currency, showing just how important people here think rain is. And also, interestingly enough, most speeches and public announcements end with the speaker loudly saying "Pula!" I guess this is a wish for more rains or maybe a wish of luck or prosperity for the people.

Here's to seeing a few more days of rain. Pula!