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Stories About Africa
The Smell of Rain
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Stories About Africa
I always loved when it rained in Africa.

The occasion was rare, but so clearly I remember the rush I felt when rain was coming near. The smell in the air was always the first thing that shifted, as winds blew in the dust from the Sahara Desert. The smell, to me as a child, was intoxicating. It was musty and strange, and to me, was the smell of cool, of refreshing.

The rain pelted the tin roof of our house loudly, making hearing each other a challenge, and often the electricity would go out from the storm. I can remember sitting in the house, all of us in one room, surrounded in kerosene lanterns. The smell of the kerosene was thick and the lamp light flickered on the walls. Ghost stories usually came next. I loved the rain.

I also loved to see the ocean. It was a long, dusty trip to the sea. The roads were un-paved, the air was hot and there were potholes constantly along the way. I distinctly remember the rattling, shaking spasms of the car as we made our way, mile by mile. We passed huge open topped trucks filled to the brim with as many people as could hold, even some hanging on from the sides, just to get a ride. Bicycles and women caring unbelievable loads, balancing them precariously on their heads; large metal bowls the size of bicycle wheels, often filled to the brim with everything from coal, to water to twigs. I was always amazed by the women’s’ strength.

The journey to the sea took over a day, and there were no bathrooms along the way. Mom brought along a handy roll of toilet paper, guys to one side of the road, girls to the other. There were colorful birds in the bush, brightly colored reds, oranges and blues. Every time I spotted one of their feathers I kept them collected inside of my book.

There were always a few small towns we stopped in along the way. One in particular, Kamasi, was my favorite and most memorable. Vendors alongside the road cooked hot yam and spicy sauce poured over it. The yams there were starchy like potatoes in the states. They were tough but delicious. As we grew closer and closer to the sea, more and more I would see men standing along-side of the road holding out Grass Eaters, rather similar to an armadillo. These men would catch these in the bush and sell them to those driving by for supper.

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