The rainy season in West Africa is from June to September. The skies are cloudy almost all day long. Our first day at Dabel's house, it rained and it was nice to have a break from the harsh heat. We were just waking up when the rain started. Luckily, we hadn't planned on leaving the house that day and just stayed inside. The rain continued off and on all through the night and again the next day. My friend, Barry, told us that the rain was really good for his family. They are farmers back in the Dogon Country.
However, not everybody likes the rain. In the city, the electrical power in Bamako goes out a lot- even in the heat- and when it rains, it goes out even more. This made it hard for us to use our computers. Rain even affects the phone lines. It becomes hard to talk on the phone during a rainstorm when the lines are always busy and sometimes dead. The rain makes the roads hard to drive on, too. The few main streets that are paved aren't as much of a problem, but the dirt roads (almost every other road in Mali) turn to mush when they are wet.
A lot of rain means a lot of puddles, where mosquitoes and other bugs hang out. Many of these bugs can carry disease. Abeja got very sick and we think she may have gotten ill from one of these bugs. When Kavitha took her to the doctor, he diagnosed Abeja with malaria and immediately began her treatment. The doctor gave her some medicine and told her to get plenty of rest.
There is a good side to all this rain, too. After the rain stops, beautiful clear nights with bright stars follow. Also, during lightning storms, fabulous bright lightening streaks the sky, turning the dark black night into deep shades of purple and midnight blue. Children play in the rain and it slows the fast paced city down a bit, giving us a chance to appreciate life's small pleasures. For example, one day, after the showers had cleared, I was walking home and the sun peeked out. Guess what I saw? A brightly colored rainbow.
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