Finally it’s come to an end. After what seems for ever it’s stopped and we’re on our way to better times.
I am of course referring to the rains. Made so much longer and wetter by the El Niño effect.
The grass is turning yellower and the roads are getting dustier but I much prefer sun to rain.
Not that it has rained all the time but it has been a lot cloudier than we’ve been used to and a lot more unpredictable. So unpredictable that it’s been almost two weeks after the last rainfall before I am confident enough to make the tentative proposition that it’s over….. I think!
Our house looks like the proverbial Chinese Laundry. Clothes hang from impromptu places in various stages of drying.
It’s rainy season and at some point each day we are going to get a thunderstorm or maybe two. When it’s dry it’s hot but there’s no guarantee how long it will last – it’s certainly not breezy here so the clothes rarely have a chance to reach their full desiccation before a downpour.
So it is we have to risk the out door lines hoping to reduce the number of damp items on each pass whilst an ever increasing backlog of clothes follow on behind.
We have taken to putting up a line under the roof of the verandah but this spoils the view and they drip onto the table.
No launderettes here in town to reduce the backlog no washer dryer (in fact no washer) in the house.
One good thing is that the rain, most days can be short-lived and soon returns to hot and humid (if not dry!).
The rainy season this year seems longer and wetter than 2014 – it should be on it’s way by Christmas unless El Ninyo is planning to mix things up a bit.
Roll on the dry season!
The rains are officially here – there is no doubt. This morning we had the most torrential downpour in Mwanza – beginning about 6am it continued unabated for many hours finally easing off at about 11am. In that time the drains quickly became blocked and the roads became rivers – it made for an interesting journey to work this morning as we bypassed abandoned vehicles and ploughed through rivers on our usual route.
At school the rain had caused a small landslide which had brought down a wall in the corner of the playing field – there was a lot of rain coming down.
Photos courtesy of a colleague.
Thankfully the afternoon brightened up to a sunny end to the day – returning home was a lot easier. The garden was alive with birdlife enjoying the evening rays.
Eastern Grey Plantain Eater
Northern Grey Headed Sparrow
Northern Grey Headed Sparrow
Yellow-billed Black Kite in the sun
Spotted Morning Thrush
Female Red-billed Firefinch
Spotted Morning Thrush
As is often the case here -even the wettest days has a lot of sunshine too!
It’s mid -winter here. Not that you’d notice. The day is 11hr 58min long compared to the mid-summer excess of 12hr 16mins we get in December. Sunrise is generally between 6:30 and 7:00am, Sunset is generally between 6:30pm and 7:00pm.
There are some aberrations though.
The earliest sunrise is actually 6:25am on or about October 31st.
The latest sunset in actually 7:08pm on or about 27th January.
Although it does feel cool at the moment it is in fact 22°C (the cloud doesn’t help), though it’s forecast to rise to 29°C later on. Year round the temperature tends to hover between 25-30°C year (Daily Max). It’s funny what you get used to.
Photo taken earlier this month at Tunza Lodge
It’s still green here amongst the dust – the occasional shower has helped in that respect, but day by day it remains hot and no significant rain has fallen in three months – save for one downpour. Every shower is eagerly anticipated, but it is short-lived and turns the hot air humid.
As the weeks pass, the ground gets ever dustier, the grass ever more parched, the trees and bushes droop ever more lowly to the ground.
I am a self-confessed lover of heat and dislike rain, yet I find myself craving that which I dislike. It would be nice to have some significant rain to cool the air, to dampen the dust and revive the plants. Even though it would herald the Long Rains (which get shorter with every passing day) it would be welcome.
There may be signs it’s on it’s way as temperatures have dropped back to a mere 27°C from the mid-30s (one report records 38°C) of last week. The next week is reportedly more showery and cooler. With even these temperatures beating anything a good summers day in the UK could produce we.’re not talking cold snap here just mild relief and a little less sweat.
For now we await the Long Rains – I’m sure I’ll soon be complaining – we Brits are never satisfied with the weather for long!
The rains have yet to come. Some say they should have come already. What little rain has come has simply humidified the hot air. Each day seems hotter than the last. Even the Tanzanians are complaining about the heat and the sweaters are disapearing.
Today we are in town and it’s baking – so finding shade is a must. One place which offered shade and some good food is Kuleana’s. Here in the shade you can get Pizza – Tanzania Style and Fresh Fruit among other things.
I can’t believe I actually want the rains to come. I like heat but day after day we get what would amount to a record breaker back in the UK.
While the UK has moved from late Summer, through Autumn to Winter and soon to be Spring, here in Tanzania the temperatures have remained fairly constant. The weather has not really changed from month to month with one exception, the Rains. You might think that’s a pretty big change and in some ways it is, but for the fact that when the Rains have come they haven’t come every day they rarely last too long. Inevitably the hot sunshine has returned even on the wettest day. As featured in an earlier post – some trees exhibit all four seasons at one time.
The real measure of change has been the changing fruits (and veg) available.
Mangoes and Peppers
Vegetables of all
More Veg Variety
When we arrived in August, it was Passion Fruit, as we moved into September, there were more pineapples around, by October it was Mangoes and Avocados whilst Passion Fruit were phasing out. Nearer Christmas we started seeing more Oranges. Pineapples were still very much in abundance and along with bananas both continue to be commonly available.
Pineapples being transported to market
In early March we have come to the long awaited tangerine season. These are probably my favourite fruits. Passion fruit are also on the return. Here these are yellow-skinned rather than the purple-skinned we ate in Britain, then again Oranges and lemons are green-skinned here even when ripe. Mangoes are now becoming less abundant now and we have started to see Pears on sale. Apples are imported from South Africa, but are expensive here.
The seasonality of fruit and veg here is reminiscent of my early childhood in the ’70s when food was home grown in the UK rather than imported and so much more restricted in availability.