Crying Sky over Asmara
Before I came to Africa it was the common image in my mind, which probably most Westerners share: Africa is hot, humid and the sun is burning. The heat is an excuse for poor agriculture and performance. I took a sun-creme with me and light clothing except for one jumper for the nights.
Wrong thought! Even though Eritrea has just endured another drought and indeed it is a hot country, Asmara is on a plateau overlooking the country until the shores of the Red Sea. If you would come from Massawa – the Arabic town that once was the biggest port of the area (back in the days of Mussolini) – there are 30 km of road ahead of you which climb to the capital at about 2.500m above sea-level. Up here the air is thinner and a cool breeze lets you pack your jacket when leaving the house. In addition to this rather anti-cliché geography comes a special season of the year everybody was waiting for desperately: rain season. It was suppose to start as early as June but now the rain came just several days prior to my arrival. The country now needs this wet blessing even though it means me having to take my umbrella every time I go out of the door. Bad luck and at around 15-18°C (inside my home it seems way cooler – good structure) the city seems to now my bright-green Wolfskin-fleece as well as the not so warm old Berlin-jacket I just keep for feeling cozy at home.
Nevertheless, weather-destiny has a heart for me. How else it is possible that it always starts raining only after I got home “safe”. Probably this is due to some climatic phenomenon making the clouds rise from the North-East in the late afternoon with heavy rain at night. However, when I was out for a (few) beer last Friday I didn’t get wet at all. I guess this is destiny.
Surely not destiny is the situation of people who do get wet cause they don’t have such a nice apartment as I do. One should cry for those poor people despite the fact of them not being much around in Asmara. But this rich islands in the middle of Eritrea is strange anyway.
When the rain starts pouring like a machine gun on my roof and against the door I usually make a tea (I hope I find some Eritrean coffee soon) and read a book (currently the German version of Le Deuxième Sexe – nope, not easy!) or watch TV. I have a satellite connection which is not very stable when it starts pouring strong but is enough to see all the Arabic channels as well as some American Movie Channels and BBC/Aljazeera. So I stay a bit updated what’s happening and watch stuff (usually it’s crap) I haven’t even know exists like “Heroes” or Saudi football games. During this past weekend I snatched some German newspapers (SPIEGEL and ZEIT) of former weeks and read them as well.
Before I came to Africa it was the common image in my mind, which probably most Westerners share: Africa is hot, humid and the sun is burning. The heat is an excuse for poor agriculture and performance. I took a sun-crème with me and light clothing except for one jumper for the nights.
Let’s hope we all see less crying in the future: I would like to feel some African heat after this season is over and the Asmaris some change to the better for their country. Until then I continue to hear the weeping sky on my roof.