Sunday night, 17th April.
I thought I knew all about rain. I was wrong, we are in the middle of the rainy season. It works like this: a pleasant sunny day with cloudless skies but in the late afternoon clouds start forming. Little wispy white ones which gradually get bigger and develop dark linings. They quickly join together and by six o’clock the whole sky is the colour of dark blue ink. A breeze stirs the stillness and, in seconds, grows into a rush of air enough to overturn plastic chairs and toss table cloths about. It is quite scary because you wonder what will happen if it goes on increasing in strength. (Actually, we know what happens – one of the schools we are working with lost its roof)
Then the rain drops come: big fat bold ones which hurt; in seconds they have ceased to be drops and become long rods of water with hardly any gaps in between. The noise (because of the ever popular corrugated iron roofs) stops you talking, or listening, or doing anything very much. It is now quite dark, or would have been but for almost continuous lightning flashes all around you, throwing distant trees into silhouette.
After 30 minutes or so, during which all gutters are full, all overflows are overflowing, traffic comes on a standstill, roadside gutters are full, people disappear and my bedroom is flooded once again, it eases down into steady roar, and sometimes hours after we go to sleep, it stops. I wake in the darkness, the clouds are gone and the sky sparkles with stars in the newly washed air. It is completely silent.
Next morning, as if the sky has been forgiven for last night’s performance, the dawn rises into a clear blue sky with not a cloud to be seen. The floods have gone, the road is dry, my bedroom floor is clean and dry and only a few small puddles by the roadside give us any clues about the millions of tons of water that fell on the Kumi plain last night. The farmers are glad, the ground is ready for planting and the day gets hotter until the whole process starts over again in the late afternoon.
Yesterday we re-visited Sipi Falls (just for a health and safety check, not for the coffee or the beer in the Lodge) and shortly before we left we watched one of these storms coming across the plain towards us. We could judge exactly when to get back on the bus. But during the day we had a great walk up to the waterfall and down the valley.
OK, signs seen on the way there were “Unless the Lord Builds” on the front of a taxi. (No, I have no idea); I not sure if I would trust my car to the “Quick and accurete service” garage. (If they cannot get the word right then…?) But the best one was “Humps Ahead” (later we saw a camel standing by the road) the humps were speed bumps.
Tomorrow, we head back to Kampala. Another jolly 8 hours on the road.