I typically wake up to the sound of the “Coconut” ring tone of my cell phone. At other times the annoying beeping of my digital alarm clock will wake me. On a few different occasions, I have risen in the morning to the sound of a rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo or the yelping noises of dogs barking outside.
But today, on this particular morning, I woke up to a different, more subtle sound: The sound of rain.
Being the poorly prepared American that I am, I’ve been without an umbrella since I arrived in Freetown, thinking, “I’ll just get one when it starts raining consistently.”
So as I left my hostel, I was shielded (if you can even call it that) only by my thin rain jacket, and I was thankfully able to catch a taxi right away.
“Take your raincoat off, please,” the driver insisted as I entered the car. “The seats will get wet.”
I took one look at my coat and pants, rather amazed, and thought to myself: And I’ve only been outside for a couple of minutes…
Before coming to Africa, I had read in several travel guidebooks and websites that the summer in Sierra Leone would be the rainy season, with heavy downpours during July and August.
And while many people may think that I will moan and complain about the heavy rain, I actually welcome it with a nostalgic smile.
As mentioned in my travelogue, I am from Seattle, Washington, where I’ve lived for basically my entire life.
If you ask any American where he or she thinks it rains the most in the states (U.S.), I am sure that Seattle will be one of the first three answers – if not the first.
But I actually like the rain; I sometimes even love it. My friends back home would always say, “If you complain about the rain in Seattle, then you’re probably not from Seattle.”
Being raised in the great Pacific Northwest, rain and wetness almost become afterthoughts rather than abnormalities. Just a few weeks ago while I was still in America, I was joking around with some friends on a rare sunny day, sarcastically saying,
“Hey, what do you know? A nice day in June!”
So after spending a hot, humid, and relatively dry first week in Sierra Leone, I was happy to wake up to a familiar sound.
It may be the beginning of a regular rainy season in Sierra Leone, but a small part of me likes to think of it as if I brought a big part of Seattle with me on my travels.
Still, the first thing I did upon arriving to work: Buy an umbrella.
By Yu Nakayama