Four nights ago, Ibadan experienced a rain storm unlike any I have witnessed in all of the eight countries I have visited in my life. I knew the rain was coming when around 5:45 p.m. the sky started to turn a pastel shade of orange/grey, and a cool wind pulsed through the trees slowly at first then with such a force that it drowned out the sounds of the chickens. A brief serenity before the downpour. I arrived home just in time to no light. (Most of the University of Ibadan campus did not have light for 3 straight days last week.) Not wanting to sit in the darkness reading with my headlamp, the only thing to do seemed to be to lay in my bed and look out the window.
The rain started quickly and torrentially. Sheets of rain descended from the sky and cloaked the view out my window in a stark grey shadow. You couldn’t even see the green in the greenest trees for the rain was so thick. The grey gradually turned to complete black and I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The darkness didn’t last though. Lightning illuminated the world like a strobe light. This lightning did not come in short, flashy bolts. It was continuous and all encompassing. It lit up the sky so completely that it almost looked like daylight. The thunder was a constant rumbling without the piercing cracks. Occasionally a roaring boom and a flash of light would simultaneously occur, stirring the peace from the rain slapping the leaves and dirt. One of the most enjoyable parts of the storm was the cool, dare I say it, cold breeze it brought through my window. The storm went on like this for almost an hour, not letting up one bit. I almost fell asleep a few times but the lighting I could see through my closed eyes kept waking me up.
The rainy season is on its way out, making way for the unimaginable heat of the dry season. During the rainy season you can count on it raining almost everyday usually in the early evening. Not many of the storms are of such caliber, but it is common for me to wake up in the middle of the night to that familiar sound of torrential downpour. The rain brings peace and a much needed cool off to the land here. I made it a priority to bring good rain boots with me only to find that no one wears them here. The few times I’ve worn them, people everywhere stare at me. I just laugh and jaunt through the gigantic, muddy puddles.