The rains are here with us again, full scale. Now while the farmers are celebrating since rains foretell bumper harvests from their fields, urban dwellers are cringing in disdain.
Most roads become rivers, potholes become mini-lakes. Newsvendors and machingas see hunger knocking at their doors.
Grocery operators, for their part, are receiving the rains with mixed reactions, for while some are lamenting, others are celebrating.
The lamenters are mainly those who don’t have a roofed drinking arena, the ones whose concept of a bar is a discarded container or a shop frame where there’s a beer shelf and a counter, period! Drinkers quench their thirst in the open, and woe unto them when it starts raining!
In Bongoville, our commercial capital, open air drinking outfits are in the majority—and we love them that way.
The indoor grocery owners will be okay, for drinkers now accept them, even though they won’t be happy about that, since we in Bongo don’t enjoy our drink fully if we’re made to take it at some place where passersby cannot see us.
A certain drinking buddy of yours—call him Allan—says he loves the rain for it gives him the excuse not to go home early as per his wife’s persistent demand. “Due to the ongoing rains, I drink until I’m tired; for I can always call mama watoto and inform her I can’t leave the bar because it’s too wet outside.”
“But suppose it’s not raining, since rains don’t fall non-stop everyday of the week? You ask.
“How would she know?” he asks.
“If it’s not raining she’ll know, for she would be able to tell it even if she’s indoors watching her favourite soaps. Or is your house soundproofed?” You ask.
“You’re forgetting this is Dar…rains in this city normally fall in rations; it could be raining heavily here, while some other parts remain sunny and dry,” he reminds you.
He’s right. A common joke in this our hot and at times, wet city, is that the gods responsible for rainfall treat this city like they were Tanesco. “Mvua za Dar ni kama mgao wa umeme,” we say, meaning that rainfall in Dar is shared out like (the one-time) very inadequate electricity supply by the monopoly power utility, Tanesco.
It means, when Allan calls his mama watoto and tells her the rain is making it impossible for him to be home early like he pledged he would, it would be futile for her to say: “You’re not telling the truth, baba watoto, there’s no rain…actually we’re seated outside to escape the heat inside the house…what rain are you talking about?”
“Don’t make me laugh, mother of my children, here in Mwenge, where Esaya forced me to join him for a free drink, the rain is falling so heavily you’d think we’re in Noah’s time!” he’ll say (read lie). This would be to the amusement of other drinkers around him.
“Sorry, my husband, I’m forgetting Dar’s rains are of mgao style,” she’ll say.