Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When it rains, it pours!

(Picture taken from our car window in Lekki)

It's the LONG rainy season in sub-Sahara Africa.  Storms are frequent and torrential with flooding everywhere.  Nigeria is located 6 degrees north of the Equator and our temperatures range from 78 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  Right now, is the coolest season of the year due to the rains.  


The climate definition of our area is humid and tropical with coastal weather patterns.
The only difference between the seasons is the amount of rainfall.  

(This is the entrance road into our community.)

On the books, we have FOUR seasons of the year in Nigeria.
The LONG RAINY SEASON is from April through July
The SHORT DRY SEASON is August
The SHORT RAINY SEASON is from Sept to mid-October
The LONG DRY SEASON is from mid October through March.
(This picture was taken on our street. 
Normally we see black and white striped curbs, which are now covered by water!)

The rainy season creates problems due to flooding, since there is not an
effective drainage system AND we are only 2 feet above sea level!! 
The rainy season also increases the traffic levels considerably! 

(Can you believe that we are really DRIVING in this?)

It is not uncommon for us to spend 2-3 hours driving short distances away.
Last week was a good example of the problems that can occasionally occur.  Charles left the office around 9:00 am to attend a meeting in a location that normally takes 20 minutes to travel.  He arrived at 11:00 and finished the meeting around 12:30. 

(Picture taken by Charles from his phone on the way to work.) 

After experiencing gridlock, closed roads, flooding and major traffic delays, he arrived back to the office at 3:30 pm. He was on the road for over 5 hours to get 20 minutes each way!  We've learned  to take a book with us, since it's just part of life in the rainy season. 
 However, it is really entertaining just to watch outside the window!  


During the rains, I am constantly amazed that the cars, the okadas (motorcycle taxis) and buses
 just keep on going through the water with barely a hesitation. 

There are lots of potholes too, which make for a bumpy ride through the rain.  
Some days, I think that I am riding behind a horse in a very bumpy carriage.  :)


Most of the time, we just keep our normal schedule and allow extra time for travel.  On Saturday, we went to Lekki market. It wasn't raining, but the water was still high.  We balanced on boards to get to the car!   FYI - Our newest purchase is the picture in orange!   

(leaving the market area)

On Sunday, we ventured out in heavy rains again.....

We see a lot of interesting sights as we travel on rainy roads!    
  

I kept thinking that the water would come up through the floor boards in our SUV on this street. 


And yes, we are still driving! Tree branches are floating!

On Sunday, we followed this bus down the street.   
When the bus passed the taxi, the waves splashed OVER the roof of the taxi cab! 


Notice our Yankee candle car freshener! :)
 In the USA, these roads would have been closed. 


One of the issues with water this high is that it is hard to see where the ditches are!! 
    

Through the rain and the mud, I am most impressed with the resilancy of the people during the rains.  It's a hard life for most citizens here, but the people just keep pushing forward with simple acceptance, even through monumental hardships.   

For us, the rain does bring inconveniences, but it also slows down our schedules.  I have time to work on scrapbooking and blogs and quilts.  It also brings the cooler temperatures, which we enjoy.   The golf course closes for the rain and many expat activities slow down or stop for the summer. I'm staying home more too - which is not always a bad thing! 

And the dry season.....(wait for it).......will arrive "anytime from now"!  :)   

No comments: