06 February 2008

weather patterns

(clouds retreating over Lake Kivu :: like glass at evening)

It's raining. I can hear the rain against the window in my climate-controlled apartment, so it must be raining pretty hard. I'm glad I'm not out in the cold and wet, but I'm also longing for a real thunderstorm. I'm sure they happen here, but I'll probably sleep through them here on the 4th floor of a 6-story building, here with windows and blinds blocking the world out. I want a real, tropical thunderstorm, the kind that makes me a little bit afraid that the whole universe is going to split into pieces, even though I am sort of an adult now and should be braver than this. I want one of those storms that used to wake me up in Rwanda, in my little house under the hill, where I would hear the crack and boom and see the glare all at the same time and think, "I hope the mountain doesn't slide down on me," but then realize that I was so comfortable in my bed and so at home that I couldn't bring myself to care. I want that storm that propelled me out of bed at 3 a.m. in Liberia to unplug the fridge and my housemate's computers that they left charging in the living room. I want that storm that trapped me in my tukul in Sudan, in the middle of the day unable to get across the compound to the comforting presence of other people, such rain and thunder that I really did get a little bit scared that somehow the weather would get in and sweep me away across the miles into the river.

Question: are weather patterns really stronger in the tropics, or is it just that we are sheltered here by thick walls and insulation in the roof, and in the tropics there is nothing between us and the storm but a few ceiling tiles and aluminum panels?

In other news, hopefully everyone is keeping up on world news and knows that Rwanda/Congo had an earthquake on Sunday, centered near Cyangugu/Bukavu at the south end of Lake Kivu (WHAT? Not everyone has their homepage set to BBC Africa? Why NOT?). The first time I ever felt an earthquake was in Rwanda; the first time I ever visited Gisenyi, at the north end of Lake Kivu, was to visit a project that was rebuilding houses destroyed in the earthquakes after Mt. Nyiragongo erupted in 2002. This set of earthquakes, this week, were pretty bad, and quite a few people died. I'm sort of wishing I could be there.

(Mt. Nyiragongo :: above Gisenyi, Rwanda)

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