|Cassi & her mum Cathy who is visiting and volunteering at the clinic took a trip in a communal 17 person taxi over the weekend. This was the result of the dusty roads!|
In Uganda, the period from December to March/April is known to all as the ‘Dry Season’. This is not merely because of the lack of rain but genuinely because everything you see and touch is completely and utterly, bone dry.
When I first arrived, I found the climate fairly pleasant. While we did have some very hot days, the heat was a dry one and not the humid kind that frizzes your hair 3 seconds after you take a step out the door. Given I did not pack a hair straightener on this trip, I found this most convenient. However, over the past week, with the rains ever so slowly approaching, the wind has picked up and life has become a red hot dusty mess. Frizzy hair is now the least of my worries…
To set the scene a little, imagine you are laying at the solarium for 24 hours a day. The temperature never drops, not even at night, but every so often there is a cool breeze that passes through to provide some fleeting relief. Feeling it yet? Then imagine that this cool breeze becomes a gale-force wind that brings with it a tonne of thick, red dust that coats your eyes, face, hair and body and even manages to make its way down your throat to sit in your lungs. That’s just the beginning.
Forget the feeling of ever being clean. After returning from a long hot day in the sun, you are greeted by a sweet trickle of water that some would refer to as a shower that is somehow supposed to wash away the mounds of dust that have nestled in your hair. On top of that, there has been ‘work’ done on the power lines in Lira over the past week, meaning that power runs for roughly 6 hours during the day. See ya later cold water and ceiling fans!
To top it all off, the roads are ALL dirt and everyone drives like their competing in the Formula One. I accept that I have poor eye sight but even if I were to have 20/20 vision I would like to believe that I would not be driving 140km/hour when all I can see is dust ahead and lorry trucks are approaching from all directions (N.B taxi drivers are LITERALLY INSANE!!!!!!)
But putting to one side all my moaning and groaning, this country really is in desperate need of rain. The combination of wind and dust is destroying the little produce available, hindering people from moving outside but also prolonging the new harvest that so many livelihoods depend on. For the women in our Cents for Seeds program, the earlier the rains come, the earlier they can plant their seeds which means the earlier they will receive a harvest which they can use for food or income. At our clinic, this time of year is often fairly quiet given the majority of patients are peasant farmers and by the end of dry season their savings have dwindled and health no longer becomes their main priority. For children, 10 hour school days drag on in the blistering heat and the incessant wind which makes concentrating on their education very difficult.
This windy, dusty, sunburnt land still has a unique beauty about it and it fascinates me how resilient the people and the crops are in such inconvenient conditions. In Uganda, life goes on but I would appeal to you to join with me in praying for this nation. Pray for health and prosperity. Pray for a great blessing and an abundant harvest for the year ahead. And lastly, pray for the rain!