We had a meeting with our guides in a local bar to discuss what it was we were supposed to have seen, the rain still pouring steadily outside and the occasional rumble of thunder reinforcing our good decision not to go into the middle of the lake in a metal boat.
We drove back to the crazy city over the next couple of hours, discussing our field trip, planning the field work to be done over the next couple of months and my mapping and modelling inputs to come. We also chatted about life, learnt more of Jean Luc’s other career as a fish farmer in Quebec and listening to various dotty songs in French.
Rain is a deadener for human activity in developing countries. As we drove along, all the hustle and bustle of the market had gone – a few souls desperate to buy food braved the mud and wet. No-one worked in the fields, we would get a glimpse of people grouping together in leaky corrugated iron clad bars peering out at the weather, or from verandahs of houses, or maybe as close up to a tree’s trunk as possible. There was no one in the fields. The roads; where normally people would be hanging around at junctions or by bus stops, were near empty. Even the animals had retreated under houses and sheds.
As we drove the potholes filled with water, the ghuts and gullies splashed with brown rivers, the droplets plopped from plantain and paw paw trees. In the countryside the rain looked life giving, once we entered the city again it just looked depressing – the already grey concrete landscape looked even drabber, the only saving was that the dust that normally hung in the air and was blown around on the trade winds or from traffic had been washed to the ground.