Friday, February 3, 2012

Perplexing Botswana Observation #983

I am from the Pacific Northwest. I am very familiar with umbrellas and their function. Umbrellas keep you dry when it's raining. Or at least that's what I thought... Perplexing Botswana Observation #983 is that umbrellas are for shielding you from the sun and NOT the rain.

Since it started getting ridiculously hot in October, I have seen my fair share of people walking around with umbrellas. They have acted as portable shade from the blazing hot sun. I thought to myself "genius!" and wondered if they could figure out portable air conditioners as well. It wasn't until a few days ago that I realized it was actually the only thing the umbrellas were used for.

A few days ago, much to my merriment, it rained. I had a meeting in another village so I grabbed my umbrella and started walking towards the bus stop. Halfway down the road I realized that I was the only person with an umbrella. I'm usually the only person without one, choosing to enjoy the sunshine (like a true Seattlite), and now that it's raining, I am again alone. This seemed so strange to me. Either I have this backwards or they do, right? Well, no, we probably both have this right given where we come from. I lived in Seattle, where sunbreaks were a blessing and rain somewhat common and they are from Botswana where it rains in the summer when the sun is so hot that it scorches your skin. Obviously we have found our own very valuable uses for the umbrella. Even still, it baffles and humors me. I think I'm going to just carry an umbrella around all the time (or never?). Oh Botswana, you continue to surprise me!

Photo Courtesy of Marion and Tish Mobley

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