You can hear the rain before you smell it, before you see it. The gentle patter of drops on a thousand metals roofs slowly builds into a cacophonous roar, thunder cracks and scatters, and the leaves of the matooke banana trees in my front yard bow to the forceful winds. In the slums and suburbs, water turns the hardened dirt roads into a soft red sludge, in the city, deep stone-lined channels overflow with muddy rivers.
It’s Saturday, and I’ve been up for hours, waiting for my roommates to be up so that we can go out to breakfast as planned. I have to admit that this will be my breakfast #2. And the best part of all of that, please note, is that it is Saturday, and what I will not be doing this morning is going to work. For the first time in ages. I suppose being busy is a good problem to have from a business standpoint, but I always struggle to set boundaries for myself and often find myself checking work emails until 10 at night. That is why I’m extraordinarily glad that vacation is on the horizon, and that it’s rainy season.
The other night I woke up to a wild thunderstorm, the sort where the thunder never really stops, just rumbles gently beneath the clatter of rain on metal roofs, occasionally lashing out so loudly you’d think it would knock down the house. The lightning too; constantly flickering on and off as if someone were watching a giant television outside the window. In the mornings after these wild storms, things are green and calm, the dust and smog washed from the air and the sunrise over Kampala’s hilltops is breathtaking. I love rainy season precisely because of these moments that bring me out of my own mind- or perhaps back into it- and remind me that these days are the sorts I will tell stories about for years to come. That in addition to the stress and busy-ness, I ought to put more work into absorbing the sights and smells and rhythms of this place and not let them fade into familiarity.
<adapted from a letter sent to a few friends>