By Rev. Fr. Gerald Nwafor
The rain comes in the last week of March or the third week of the Lenten season. I have followed with keen interest and think that the rainy season is sweeter than the dry season. The dry season has some benefits, but it is not the object of this discussion. The dry season hosts Christmas time and allows for outdoor parties and dust accumulation on our trees and houses.
It is time for the trees to prepare for the flowers to bear many fruits during the rainy season, so I have nothing against the dry season, but I like the rainy season better. However, during the rainy season, we do have impending calamities and challenges. Some are man-made while some are natural occurrences.
The man-made is more disastrous compared to the natural occurrences. That is why I title this piece the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good has to do with all the food and good night’s sleep that accompany the rain, while the bad is the menace of thunder and lightning, nor do I exclude the flooding. The ugly is the blocking of the waterways which leads to over flooding and erosions. But in all these worries and challenges I still say that the rainy season sweet pass dry season.
I do not want to salivate you now because there is no part of Nigeria you will not see the roadside-corn-roasters and pear sellers with cocoanuts. It is an economic time to enrich our mothers and our unemployed youths, the youths will supply the corn and the pears.When I was in the village working as a pastor and the rain set in the middle of the night, do I need to inform you that the sleep would be sublime and elongated to 8 AM because the villagers do not come to church when the rain was heavy because of the flood? The sound of the rain on the top of the roof makes sleep come easy and stay longer.
The weather would be very cool and the sea breeze blowing through the room. There was no artificial air conditioning machine. It was a natural air conditioner. The rain will wet the land in the morning and there was no dust storm for months. In the morning I would get up with my house boys to roast corn while we sat around the fire to warm up our bodies.
We will eat roasted corn and pears from the fire. We will roast the corn without peeling off the back and that would make the corn brown and very sweet. The roasted pear would be burnt halfway so that it would be chewy and oily. And I would ask my houseboy to tell me what he learned from school that week.
Some good stories would be joined with the sweet roasted corn and pear. If it was in reverse order when we would eat the corn with our parents, it would be a story of the lion and tortoise, in which the tortoise would always come out victorious because of his intellectual prowess. In either case, sitting around the fire with family members during the rainy season is something to be cherished.
I always wonder when we should be comfortable watching the rain fall and sleep without waking up to the disaster of the flood. The government has warned that we should not throw trash into the drainage system during the rain. It will block the drainage system and cause the water to overflow the drainage and get into people’s houses and stores. This announcement was there while I was growing up.
Forty years later the same problem has persisted. I stood in awe watching people in Onitsha, which is an urban city by all standards throw their trash into the drainage system during the rain. As metropolitan as Onitsha is and as developed as it is people still behave negatively. Why should we dump our trash in the drainage since we know that it would cause problems for another person? Moreover, the trash would not go into the river as suggested by the perpetrators, it would be dumped into people’s rooms and compounds.
We have not even discussed the opening of the Niger dam that will flood half of Nigeria and destroy farmlands. We want the families to stop dropping their trash into the drainage system because it blocks the waterways during the rainy season. I should also remind the government that they should desist from selling the waterways to their millionaire friends to build hotels and shops like the one we saw in Awka, the federal capital territory of Anambra state.Finally, our land in Anambra state is being eaten away by erosion. Many towns in Anambra State are suffering from the menace of erosion.
I have worked in Nanka, Ekwulobia, and Awa where I saw firsthand the devastation of the land by erosion. The government should please help the communities suffering from these ecological disasters so we can calmly and peacefully enjoy the benefits of the rainy season.
The freshness of our vegetables comes to the best during the rainy season. Vegetable yams, garden eggs, and new yams from the riverine areas are some of the organic foods that accompany the rainy season. I should not bore you with the celebrations around the rainy season like the new-yam festival, Nwafor, Ifejioku, Otite, Onwa-asa, ede-opoto, and many more. The rainy season is the best of all the seasons not minding the challenges and the worries therein. Happy rainy season my people.