water (part 1): on getting wet


This drought situation has really been stressing me out. December at home was rather trying because our water was rationed (there was a day we went two days without it!). This on top of the frequent electricity cuts. I wasn’t coping fam.

There’s nothing like a drought to remind us that we are fragile. Human. And incredibly dependent on Something Other than ourselves. As cows die, plants struggle to bear fruit, and the fish in the water perish with the drying dam, we cannot help but be confronted with our mortality.

We go through life like tumbleweeds, hurtling forward at breakneck speed, but even then, there is wind that propels us that makes that movement possible. We are not as independent as we thought we were.

I am sitting at happy.me popping bubbles and balled fruit through my straw. The tea is delicious. I’ve made a mental note to remember my combination so that I can have it again, perhaps bring a friend so that we can try it together. I am typing away at the screen, busying my mind and time with admin because, well, it’s what I came to do, but also because if I stop, I will certainly begin to cry again. It’s been an emotional month, you see, and I have cried many rivers of tears in the past few weeks. I turned 25 exactly 8 days ago. Leading up to my birthday I had anxiety, a feeling of pulled-down-ness, an inertia, a blues. It was apprehension at growing old and feeling like my life is a helpless with little chance of rain. I felt dry.

When the birth-day eventually came I was calmer than I had been leading up to its arrival, but I felt very faux-adult. And lonely. Like maybe if I had a boyfriend to take me out on a date that day I would feel better about how crappy my life turned out to be at this point. But thinking that made me frustrated at the thought that even if I did, I’d have nothing to offer him.

A few weeks later and I have just knocked off, made my way to Bree, and am in line waiting for a taxi home. Half an hour later, I am still waiting. It is not pleasant, but it’s not the worst case scenario. An hour passes. Okay, this is not ideal but maybe a taxi will arrive now. By the time I’ve been in line for two hours I can barely think straight for frustration: the last taxi to my destination left thirty minutes ago with people sitting four-four and some on top of those four. As people were rushing to get into it, we were pushing and jostling and still some of us did not make it in. My anxiety levels were through the roof. “This is what we have been reduced to,” I think. “Fighting for space in a taxi that shakes unsteadily as it moves, offering no certainty that it will reach it destination in one piece, and neither, for that matter, could we. We’ve worked long days, we are weary, we live in squalor, we work tirelessly, and yet we still can’t get out.”

Black life is cheap.

Bree has now closed so we are all outside, and in true dramatic fashion, it begins to rain. Now I am without transport and I am getting wet and cold. It is the last thing I need, but I embrace it, because we need rain. Aren’t I the one stressed out about the drought? Funny that, to be mad at the thing I have been wanting just because it came at a time that made me uncomfortable.

Makes me think, you know, of Langston Hughes’ April Rain Song :

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain. 

Who can stop the rain? Who can make it stay its course or sway it to another direction? All we can do is embrace the shower. To embrace the journey that we are on, to be like children, who welcome getting wet with innocent abandon. To actually feel, not escape, the rain. And when we are through, because we have been watered, to grow.



“Two mountains can never meet but perhaps you and I can meet again. I am coming to your waterfall.”
― Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones