Last night I experienced the most extraordinary storm of my life. I was woken up close to midnight (having gone to bed quite early) by all sorts of noise – glass breaking, wind blowing, and rain pounding.
I groggily got out of bed and, upon placing my bare feet on the floor, confusedly stepped into a puddle. I walked across the room to shut my window and realized that the curtain was completely soaked. The rain had blown horizontally into my room and the floor was covered in water.
The storm was absolutely raging outside, like nothing I have ever seen before. The electricity in the house had gone out, but my room remained fully illuminated by the lightning. Not a flash of lightning, but a continuous flashing of lightning so frequent that you couldn’t distinguish individual bolts. I didn’t know such lightning was even possible.
I walked out of my room and found my house mates closing all the windows; rain had poured in onto the floor and cushions, and the wind had blown our dishes off the drying shelf in the kitchen, breaking a glass. I opened the back door to have a peek outside, and the instant it was open a howling force of wind and water was blasting at me. I quickly shut it and crawled back into bed.
I lay in bed, watching the strobe-lightning through the (now closed) window and revelling in the glorious monstrosity of the storm. Having grown up on the East Coast of the United States, I am no stranger to storms, and I have childhood memories of Hurricane Gloria, which took down a large old tree in our backyard. But before last night I had never heard a storm with so much energy and force, or seen such spectacular lightning. It was chilling and beautiful.
While this most recent rain was excessively strong, making some Somalis say it was “too much,” the usual reaction here to the rain is joyous– smiles, shouts of glee, and exclamations of “Allahu akbar!” The rainy season has come late this year, and as a result the country has experienced drought. The arrival of the rain has been sorely needed.
When I lived in England, I used to complain about the regular rain, but here rain is anything but regular, and so its appearance is a reason for excitement and celebration. And, after the storm clears, the gift of rain is iced with the most spectacular of rainbows arched across the sky.