The heat as usual was unbearable. As I walked in the dust down the road at midday I could see I wasn’t the only one suffering. Men sat at the local bars, swatting at flies as they sipped at their lukewarm beers, silently contemplating unknown thoughts. Women sat or laid out on their porches with their babies sprawled around them, as they dazed off into space, fanning their faces with notebooks, cardboard, or anything that could made it seem slightly cooler. I envied them and their shade, as I stared at the beast of the sun beating down on me, the sweat drenching me and running down my back in streams. I wondered how it could ever be so hot, especially when for so long I had waited for the rainy season, only to be disappointed.
Day after day the markets seemed to become quieter and quieter, as people with empty pockets stared at the sky, which would bring ominous clouds, only to disappoint and drop a few pitiful drops in the dark of the night to evaporate once more in the morning. What should have brought cool nights and crisp days instead left us in a clearer brighter day, the sun in its cruel way staring down at us. It beat us into submission, and we sat and waited, as it seemed the rain fell everywhere but here, our sunken hole of fire. The only thought that lingered in my mind was the irony, or cruelty of my suffering: to run from a drought in California, to a long dry season in Cameroon. The true irony, is how much more suffering can be found here, waiting for rain. Without rain, there is no food. Without rain, the water turns muddy and diseases spread quickly. Without rain, children search farther and father for water, spending more and more time lugging precious water home. And when the rain finally arrives, the relief, life and strength it brings back to the community that welcomes it with open arms.