Pula is the currency here in Botswana which most aptly is the Setswana word for rain. I had known this before but hadn’t really considered how well named it was. (And did you know that the name was also chosen with the help of the public and that it is one of the most stable African currencies – gosh I can get distracted by Google!!) Like rain, money is indeed a blessing, it can cause difficulties if you do not have any and can be dangerous in large amounts.
Today we woke up to our second overcast day in a row but this sky became ominously heavy and was gun-metal grey by 11am when a thunder storm broke. I love a good storm. Thunder and lightning for me are not so very very frightening but rather the most amazing light and sound display you can get without having to pay for a West End show. However, I was not prepared for the effect the sudden downpour would have on the surrounding area.
- I hadn’t realised the poor quality of my wiper blades, having not had to use them recently, and they struggled to keep the screen clear.
- There seemed a change in the quality of driving from the residents of Gaborone making the drive more … interesting – especially when some traffic lights were out at a busy intersection on the main dual carriageway.
- Due to the hardness of the ground, there was lots of standing water and not all the drains were able to cope with the sudden deluge. Not that this was a problem, name a child that doesn’t love their driver zooming through a puddle creating a wave against the windows. I can hear you naysayers thinking of the state of the car but bear in mind, it usually drives on dusty roads so it is loving the wash! It will especially enjoy the resulting trip to the amazing Wishy Washy car cleaners near us who will do the perfect clean inside and out for P70 (under £5!) and the car will honestly sparkle like new.
However, I had really not prepared for the difference it made at home. Our wonderful maid came
the day before leaving our house gleaming. Imagine if you will a largish dog (he’s a Tswana mix but think Labrador size) and a 2 month puppy and the effect they had on the gleaming, cream tiled floor! So, I thought cunningly, leave them outside until they (and the ground) have dried off – but they are wily critters my hounds and kept managing to sneak through the door as I came through with shopping bags, or worked together to push open the trelidor and invade with muddy paws – forget Jackson and Scout, I’m thinking of renaming them Houdini and Octopus. (FYI octopuses are apparently the world’s best escapologists – google again … and Finding Dory!)
Finally, I had forgotten what the rain would do to my children but especially my little one. Mud and puddles are probably two of his most favourite things. Just before tea, I suggested we took the bigger dog out for a walk, my boys are both usually keen but little one did seem particularly excited. Had he already spied the puddles on our drive home? Had he noted the swathes of mud washed onto the sides of the road and already planned the tracks he would make? Probably not but did he splash in every puddle? Yes, he did. Did he stomp and trail his feet through each section of mud? Yes, he did.
Initially I tried to point out where the mud was too thick or puddles were too deep. But after seeing the look of pure enjoyment on his face and the way he would experiment with size of splash or trail of mud, I let go.
Let go of worrying about the state of his clothes and shoes, let go of worrying what other people might think (especially the older lady who did a slow drive by and stop in her car to watch with a rather stern face – envy I’m sure!), let go of my fear that he would slip and hurt himself and I just let him enjoy. He splashed, jumped, leaped, tiptoed, dragged, gambled and slid his way along our walk. Did he fall over? You bet he did. Was he covered from head to foot in glorious mud? Oh yes he was. Did I have to shut him outside with the dogs until the bath was run and then carry him through the house to deposit him in said bath? That may have happened. But was it worth it? Absolutely.
The puddles won’t last and may well have dried up by tomorrow. The mud will very quickly turn back to dust and though his clothes were filthy, that is what washing machines are for. But the feelings he experienced will remain and hopefully they resulted in a few memories being made to be looked back upon fondly and if nothing else…. It was fun both for him to experience and for me to watch – I only wish I had taken my phone out with me!
And one of the best things about the rain fall? The smell. Once it had landed and woken up the soil it released the most wonderful fragrance of earthy goodness filled with hope and possibility.
Pula – rain – a blessing indeed.