Rain, glorious rain

BY MOTHER DUCK In Zimbabwe, some very strange phenomena occur at the onset of the rains. One can have the dubious pleasure of seeing grown men racing their motoring pieces through the storm dips in the roads, giddily watching the water splash three meters high on either side of the car. The pl

easure is dubious if you are standing nearby, but these days rain is such a rare occurrence that it is a divine feeling (unless you are wearing your Sunday best)

One can see fully grown Mums and Dads with the kids in tow, as well as Grannies and Grandpas, splashing through the puddles on the rain soaked roads. The mums and grannies with their skirts tucked in their broekies, the dads and grandpas with the trousers rolled up as high as they can, yelling and shouting and splashing each other in some sort of frenzied rain dance.

Zimbabwean roads are not well drained. There are no little cleverly constructed water gullies where the water drains away in a boring sterile fashion to the nearest creek. Instead we have rivulets gushing down the sides of the roads, filling the intersections with giant lakes and puddles where you can splash away contentedly for a couple of hours after the rain storm, until they gradually drain away.

Not so good for the cars’ fan belts and brake pads I must admit, and with the increasing age of the Zimbabwean fleet, it is a common sight to see several cars stranded on the sides of these vast puddles, waiting for various parts of their anatomy to dry out.

But this not bothersome. Which true Zimbabwean could possibly get bothered by the glorious rain? Instead we all stand in the rain and chat excitedly while waiting for the under-carriage to dry out.

Now that the rains have officially started, we can put away our home-made rain sticks, cease our impromptu rain dance parties, and get ready for the flying ant invasions … such fun watching the little flying ants (termites) pouring out of their secret places in the earth, millions, zillions, gadzillions, to live for just a few hours until their earthly task is done.

Lovely to see them with their wispy wings gleaming in the rain, but they are not such nice little creatures when they start to make a massive colony right under your house.

With the emerging of the termites, another strange side of the Zimbabwean phenomena emerges. It is not only the frogs, the bats and the birds that get excited at the thought of a gargantuan flying ant feast, but we local folk love a toasted termite terrine.

It is not easy to find a lamppost with a light in it in Bulawayo these days but they do occur now and again. And under every lighted lamppost directly after the rain is a huddle of excitement. People appear as if by magic with their containers to collect a sumptuous feast. Cyclists leap off their bikes on their way home, and scrabble about, yelling and gesticulating in their excitement, filling every crease and crevasse in their clothes with the tiny termites.

Bats swirl around in the darkness overhead, gorging on the little creatures, frogs hop madly around on the periphery, long tongues flashing in and out like a symphony impaling a tasty delicacy in perpetual papillae motion.

Those termites lucky enough to escape this feeding Armageddon, wander off in some sort of phenomenal trance, in tandem with his chosen mate, for a few hours of promiscuity from which a zillion more flying ants will no doubt result next rainy season.

Hopping happily about amidst the mounds of wings that the termites have shed almost instantaneously once they find a likely mate, until the next day, when all that remains as to a testament of their toadish behaviour, the road is littered with squashed amphibian carcasses which will delight the crows for some time to come.

Ah the glories of the common food chain. How would our spirits survive without the coming of the rains? They are a precious testament to nature’s amazing healing powers, a symbol of hope to a nation which so desperately needs every comfort it can get in this our darkest hour before the dawn.

(Magaisa is taking a short break)

Post published in: Opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *