The 'short rains' have started and are here in force. As my first time living somewhere tropical, they are fascinating to me. Not the grey drizzle you get in the UK, but 'proper rain', 'really-coming-down-hard' rain, 'if-you-go-out-in-it-for-two-minutes-you-are-soaked-through' rain.
This is not the real rainy season, known as the 'long rains', which comes in March / April. The short rain season lasts for a month or two and is made up of short but very heavy showers and sunny spells in between. Obviously the rains are essential for bringing life to crops, wildlife and people alike, but they also pose several hazards.
They are so heavy they damage property, and many peoples homes leak. Even us in our protected, modern home experienced it as the rain came through our bedroom ceiling the other day, and a giant piece of plasterboard fell on our bed (luckily we were protected by the mosquito net!) followed by a steady stream of water.
The roads quickly become impassable by all but the 4x4s, and people have to try to struggle on with their daily lives wading through the puddles and getting soaked to the skin.
The water brings more mosquitos, which brings Malaria. And the rains seem to make even more rubbish than usual wash up onto the beach.
Since the tap water supply is erratic and coverage is poor, there should be a lot of potential for people to harvest this bountiful supply of fresh water, but it seems that most people don’t collect their rainwater. Perhaps it is the high cost of plastics, or a lack of know-how. My husband is a plumber and is interested to see what potential there is to help people do this more.
He is off this week to work in an NGO called 'food water shelter', who are building a children’s centre using eco friendly building techniques and aiming to minimise waste and maximise re-use and conservation – he is going to help out with the pipe work for the rain water collection systems, and hopefully it will give him more of an insight on whether he can help people in Dar to take this further. Any ideas welcomed!