Friday, April 22, 2011

The Skies and Storms of Botswana

I wish I could describe the skies in Botswana in a way that could paint an appropriate picture. The skies are unlike anything I have ever seen before. The colors are vibrant and rich beyond comparison and the stars and clouds alike seem to jump out at you. They are truly beyond words. I have been trying for nearly three weeks to capture a picture worthy to share but have not been able to do it justice. If you ever get the chance to come to Africa, do so if for no other reason than the skies (although the people are so welcoming and wonderful and worthy of meeting on their own too). The only thing that could possibly compare to the skies are the storms.

Since I have been in Botswana it has rained a handful of times. The rains are magnificent. They come out of nowhere and fall heavy on you as if buckets were falling from the clouds.  But when the rains turn into storms, they are deafening and unbelievable. Coupled with the pounding rain (made even louder by the tin roofs that are on the majority of homes here) is the loud crack of thunder. Looking out over Kanye, all you can see is shadows through the rain and then the thunder roars before miles of darkness light up as lightening flashes. For someone who likes storms, this is really a sight to behold. It is intense and truly almost magical. About a week ago, I had the “privilege” of being caught out in one of these storms.

After hearing that one of our fellow trainees was going home to deal with a family emergency, a group of us decided to cheer ourselves up with a tasty dinner and a Botswana brew at our little hang out after the day’s sessions. It gets dark here around 6:30 so we were trying to unwind but also be quick so we could head home when we starting hearing the rumbling in the distance and saw the dark clouds starting to cover the sky. We were about an hour walk away from our ward when the storm started. None of us could see anything until the lightening would strike. Honestly, we were still getting a feel for where the roads and paths led us and in the darkness it was almost impossible to know if we were going in the right direction – but we needed to get home and there was a sense of urgency (and adventure) in the trek. We were somewhat lost, we were drenched, and we needed to be home. One by one our host families started calling us, worried about us being out in the dark and in the storm. After some time, a combi drove by and we hitched a ride back to our ward’s kgotla (traditional meeting place) before making a run for it towards home – knee deep in the water that had already accumulated on our paths and absolutely soaked. When I finally got home, my hair was pin straight from the weight of the rain and I literally had to wring out my clothes into my bathing bucket (which remained wet for days). This was the sort of experience we envisioned in joining the Peace Corps. It was an experience to be remembered and we were so happy to be out in the storm.

The skies and the storms – breathtaking and so much fun!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds absolutely amazing... So cool! The first of many great stories to come.

    I'm not sure what type of camera you have, but here's a little step-by-step guide on how to capture the night sky:

    When it says "set the ring to infinity," just look on your lens and it will have an infinity symbol on it.

    Hope to see lots of pictures of your adventures!!