Friday, May 18, 2012


It's that time of year when the air is cold, and days are dark, when my mind wanders like a toddler through previous seasons of my life---places I've lived, friends I've loved, jobs I've held, conversations that left lasting impressions on me, and musings---Which brings to something I've been thinking about lately.  In America, we don't normally take seriously superstitious beliefs that we read about in books about other countries, but in Africa, especially West Africa, there are powerful people who can control the weather, or so they say. They are called Tribal Shaman's. The myth includes tradtional rain magicks that bring slaking water to parched farmlands. It also has lightening magicks which a Shaman presumably would use when angered with a person or a town and wishes to destroy them.  I don't believe there are Shaman's in southern Botswana, but there are traditional healers, which people think of as witchcraft, and what we would call alternative medicine. When thinking about these things though, it certainly puts a different perspective on things like the weather.

 Coming to Africa, I knew it would be hot---Africa hot! When we arrived in September, the winter cold was gone, spring with it's budding flowers and trees were upon us, and the days were warming. When we got to site in November, summer hit us like a ton of bricks. It got hot, hotter, and sweltering, usually hovering around 106, and I was told it was not one of the hotter, nor rainiest of summers. Thank God, or the Shaman's for that! But to me, it was so hot that you couldn't even sleep with a sheet on top of you, let alone sleep at all because of the heat and the ever lovely bugs around here. Even if it wasn't the rainiest of seasons, it still brought some wicked rains, thunder and lightening storms that surely made me believe in the Shaman---whether I was in West, East, or Southern Africa!  The thunder actually scared the heebeegeebees out of me at times!  But the intense heat brought sunsets that were rich in vibrant colors that filled the sky each night.  It's now the end of Fall, which is usually everyone's favorite season no matter where in the world you are. Different wildflowers are blooming, the nights are cool, the winds can get strong enough that they blew the roof off of the guidance office at school one night, the days are filled with magnificant sunshine, and people here are already complaining that they're freezing. That's right, they're wearing hats, coats, scarfs, leggings, and it's only in the 50's at night, and in the 80's during the day. I guess I can understand, the temperature dropped between 20-30 degrees, and even though it may be in the high 70's or 80, it does feel quite cold. In fact, it feels so cold that Keoki won't even sleep outside at night, and I find myself wrapped in a blanket, sitting in the middle of my yard so the sun will warm me. Within this next month the tempertures should drop into the 20's and at night, and hopefully to the 60's during the day---but with no insulation, no heat, and living in a cement house---oh baby, it's gonna be cold in here and out there!

Ok, with all these weather patterns, I'm definitely starting to believe in this Shaman thing, or at the very least, I'm starting to believe in global warming.  But maybe the Shamans have their own perspective--- Maybe they're pissed off at all the rubbish thrown around, or humans wanting to build roadways through the Serengetti, or to many cell phones in natural places! Whatever the cause of weird weather, exposure to a set of world views that doesn't jive with America's is exciting. I'd like to believe that the Shaman's have a thing or two to say, but when you look at this stuff objectively, it really doesn't make any less sense that the Judeo—Christian mythos. So, I'm gonna watch my roof get blown apart and the rains come into my home, and sit here with my frozen bones and pipes praying for the 110 heat to come back my way!

No comments:

Post a Comment