Today it rained for the first time since I arrived in Somaliland. In fact, it rained for the first time this year. I recalled my first week of work, and in particular Wednesday, March 16th, when nobody showed up because of a national prayer for rain. That prayer has been answered, albeit belatedly – rains were expected on March 21st (how exactly this date is arrived at, I couldn’t say).
Rain has come quite late this season, and as a result there have been water shortages. Several people I know ran out of water in their household water tanks and were unable to refill them. In Hargeisa, the cost of filling the tanks has steadily gone up since I arrived.
Seeing the rain come was pretty spectacular. I was out in the countryside, between Berbera and Hargeisa, and the sky was hazy and full of clouds. Normally the sky is a bright uninterrupted blue, so to see the sky overcast and sporting any sort of clouds was very unusual. There was something ominous about the gathering darkness, and – even before the rain began to fall – the new, darker colour of the sky transformed the way the normally dry and dusty landscape looked.
When the first few drops began to hit the windshield, our driver and guard began to enthusiastically thank Allah for the rain. Unlike in England, where the rain is another reason to grumble, here the rain is an exciting event an an occasion for joyful celebration. So let it rain!