We woke up to an unusual sight today, a cloudy sky. Then something really unusual happened, it started to rain and it just would not stop. We had barely got into the breakfast hall, taking the first tentative sips of the days porridge (to identify the flavor of the day) when it began.
Fiercer and more prolonged than any rain I have had the luck to experience in England, the school grounds were quickly transformed into a series of miniature rapids, a boggy floor and an impassable, meandering, little river going straight through the middle of the school and out into the street.
Of course, we celebrated this completely crazy weather in our own completely crazy fashion. Breakfast was all but disregarded as people literally went to sing in the rain. Then as this rain turned into a downpour; as the nooks and recess in the land quickly began to fill with a couple of inches of water; as the pickup began to collect several inches of water it self – people got even more ridiculous in their celebrations of the weather (and the cool climate it brought with it).
The group of explorers sitting in the back of the pickup for a natural bath, the pushing of people into the rain and even an impromptu game of football – all resulting from the weather. However, even when all this was said and done, the rain continued as it did for almost the entirety of two hours after breakfast.
For all the fun we had, it did push us back time wise. So there was a bit of a scurry and a bustle to get everything back on track. The rain and the resulting rapids left an interesting array of patterns on the ground as it moved the sand around, transforming the local landscape. On the other hand however, it made the already precarious route back to our hotel even more risky. Thus, on several occasions, we did have to simply vacate and push the vans as they got ensnared in the damp mud.
The networkers carried on with their renovation, disinfecting the toilets, fitting toilet panels, and painting, among other tasks. The building teams were initially delayed as they waited for the rains to subside but once they got going they carried on plastering, although there was a minor hiccup as the new central cement column toppled over. The schools team had to make spontaneous changes to their program however, being left with less time and less students than they had originally planned.
Everyone returned from their various tasks for lunch at one for a quick spot of lunch. A variety of baguettes, jam, or luncheon meat. Then there was some time for a quick siesta, some games of cards, some nice cool drinks, and some time to unwind.
Next was a trip to the SOS Basse children’s orphanage. A taxpayer and charity funded orphanage village that looks after over a 120 orphans in the Basse region. Here we learned more about what work the charity does, the structure of the orphanage, and had an opportunity to meet one of the mothers and children who had not gone away on their summer vacation.
Next we went back to the school, using all the compasses that each explorer brought we donated them to the scouts and went through a course on how to use the compass to find truth north, how to use bearings and how to orientate a map.
We returned to the hotel for half an hour in preparation for our upcoming dinner and party at Sainey’s family compound. No amount of preparation would have helped us. With some amazing cultural African bands instrument music and singing, some questionable dancing and some brilliant conversations with members of the compound we made our way home in high spirits, but still feeling even more tired than we did on before, on Eid. The cumulative effect of dancing every night is beginning to take its toll.
You know why rain dances always work? Because people keep dancing until the rain comes.