These days I wake up to the clattering sounds of the rains and then I know that the day’s already ruined. Nevertheless, I reluctantly get up with determination to make it to the city which is 30km away. It’s now a year while living in Nairobi and you would expect me to have got accustomed to its unusual weather patterns! In reality, I feel that I have failed to achieve this because I am a kind of person who loathes at any prospect of rains.
In my first few months here, I was in appreciation for the brilliant weather this city offered not knowing that one day I would be cursing the unending rain season typical to sub-Saharan climate. Kenya’s climate calendar (and similar to the rest of African tropics) has two rainy seasons and the current one started in late September and we’re winding off November but there seems to be no imminent end to this discomfort.
Right now, I get scared at seeing dark clouds accumulating overhead and I get afraid to step outside but then I retrieve the fact that I have to get to work without delay. I really abhor city rains, better in the village but not where it’s ain’t needed! The coldness it brings along makes me feel no different from anyone living in Europe or America. Sometimes, I feel my bones rattling as the coldness takes a deep sting inside of me, my body shivers uncontrollably as if I have got a seizure. My teeth clatter, then I lose appetite, become weak and later fall sick and during this moment all I need is to pull a blanket over my head to gather the badly needed warmth as my ears get tickled by the noise from the clash of the raindrops and the iron sheets!
I know that my fierce boss wouldn’t tolerate any late-coming excuses and neither would I dare come up with any. So despite the coldness, flu and amidst body trembling, I do try to take a cup of coffee to regain the needed strength to step outside, but alas! Pools of murky waters have already formed on my veranda and in the whole compound, so assuredly I concede that all my smartness was a total waste of energy because I would barely make it to the gate without the wet mud splattering all over my lower body. I really resent the rain season, sometimes I curse myself for moving to Nairobi. The city’s suburban setting is still very informal, just after I step out of my gate, a matatu from nowhere then gives me a superb muddy splash shower and everything on me turns a nasty brown, and oh, I’ve got to return to my house for fear of further public embarrassment.
In many Nairobi suburbs, it’s like a jumping contest, you see people with their heavy belongings trying to leap over huge puddles of muddy waters. Last week, I witnessed a young lady who had a very nasty slippery that flipped her anti-clockwise and within the blink of an eye, she was submerged in a deep pool of muddy waters. Those who witnessed this acrobatic fall really laughed out loud (lol), but I felt pity for my inability to get in the mud and help b’se I didn’t have gumboots on me, I’ll soon buy a pair b’se they’ve become an odd necessity in a city!
Like a Baganda proverb that says: “Essanyu lya’Malembo, ge’maziga ge’nte” (The sadness of a cow is the tick’s joy), in Nairobi, many energetic youths see the rain season as their long-awaited harvest time. They station themselves on the banks of wide muddy pools and then ask for exorbitant money from dejected commuters to carry them on their shoulders across the mud streams to the safer side. So, you’d part with a minimum of Ksh 200, they’ll lift you up to sit on their shoulders and then rescue you from the hazardous perils.
Serious vendors station themselves on bus stages (where commuters shelter from the rain) to sell umbrellas at a price 5x higher than the normal cost. To tell you the truth, your wait for the rains to recede will be in vain as Nairobi drizzles tend to never stop in any imaginable time being. The most sensible thing to do is grab an umbrella from the vendor and then unenthusiastically walk off to your workplace.
This rainy scenario reminds me of the contrasting attitude towards rains I had in my childhood. Like other playful kiddos, I rejoiced on the possibility of having it rain and when it did then that was a home party! I would undress, run wildly, jump around, climb anything, dance, rock n’ roll and play in the mud. Only alarming yells from grandma would stop the fateful party! And what about now? Ha! I really despise getting wet and cold plus I develop nausea just at the likelihood of having a whole day ruined after the weather forecast indicates that it will rain! This rain season has had its own tragic catastrophes which have further terrified my nerves. Recently, a multi-story building in Nairobi collapsed killing dozens of occupants, and every day I wake up to screaming headlines of flooded roads which become impassable, then I discover that sewer pipes have burst and the city is engulfed in a terrible stench, then I hold my face in my hands.
The green city in the sun is a huge metropolis of hardworking dwellers who no matter the weather, will strive to make it through the day. In the rain season, don’t expect to walk on empty streets because an army of commuters in raincoats, jackets, and jumpers with neck scarves stuffed around their necks will fill the streets undeterred. Street vendors would spread out their partly covered merchandise of waterproof clothing, crying out to potential customers while full of life and vigor. You may feel sad for this situation but then you remember that you have to feel pity for yourself too! I never expected Nairobi’s wet season to turn this worse and my friends in Mombasa keep taunting me as to how they’re enjoying the uninterrupted warm sunshine. So, am busy wondering if the coastal city would be a fit? Probably…
Nairobi is more pleasant and appealing in the dry season. Sincerely, I miss those delightful daybreaks and the sunrise rays that streak in from the surrounding hills. I am also craving for the irresistible sunsets whose colorful beams strike against Nairobi’s glass-walled tall buildings and the resulting brilliance produces a remarkably spectacular evening! Oh, how I miss the sunny days, they made me love to walk to the city even without any intention of so doing.
I recall waking up to the beautiful melodies of the birds excited by bright cloudless skies. I never forget how I used to step outside to get smooched by the morning sunshine’s enchanting warmth, but now all I see is mayhem and I feel like giving up on Nairobi. But should I? Definitely, no, I’ll be calm because only one month is left and this scary weather shall be history. Enough of this rainy season’s nightmares and can’t wait to wake up to the glorious bright Nairobi sunny days shortly ahead!!!