Dispatches from Dar, RCA In-House, Series

Dispatches from Dar: The Weather

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By Mpuga Rukidi, Uganda:

It is strange that someone in Africa should find the weather there noteworthy, especially if they too are from Africa. Strange indeed. Stranger even, considering that this is said in a week where politicians were struggling hard to steal the show. Well, in South Africa. But who ever said that politicians are far from showmen or comedians, to be more precise, with the caveat, of course, that the comedians deliver smarter jokes.

But it is the weather of Dar that we should stick to. You see, Dar hugs, actually caresses the ocean, the Indian Ocean. It's got some picturesque beaches, white sand and all that. And we all love beaches. Ok, some people love beaches. The ocean does more than beauty, it turns out; the ocean determines the weather here as well. And that is to put it most favourably.

Dar es Salaam is a hot city, for most of the year. Things like: don't bother carrying a blanket, sweater and any other warm clothing form part of standard travel advisory. Temperatures here hover around 38-41 at the peak of the hot season, and if you are new here, that season seems to be all the time. The heat sucks life out of you, literally. The fact that it is humid doesn't help matters. School children, roadside traders and motorists all feel the anger of the sun. It must be such a wonder that, on the whole, the people of this city manage to remain warm at heart. Human goodness must be built on iron anchors.

It is not strange to sweat straight after having a bath. Unlike in Kampala or Nairobi where offices can operate without air conditioning, here it is unheard of. You will find an office here and there that doesn't have it but that would be the odd one. It looks like what the beautiful ocean brings in terms of beauty it more than it takes away in the heat and humidity that it comes with.

But its not all hot and humid, sometimes, such as now, the temperatures go down as some rains return, rather surreptitiously as though afraid of the sun. When they come, every creature comes to life. School children giggle and the trees smile. The grass, nearly at the point of giving up, springs back to life. The university, which must be one of the greenest public places in East Africa, glows in all of its green. It must be, on the account of the amount of green it has, one of the most beautiful campuses in East Africa.

All over, we are in jovial mood right now. The rains are here and there is green everywhere. We have to enjoy the moment. We know it is precious. The weather is, after all, something to talk about.

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