Planting seasons are the saddest. Mother and father leave very early. When I am awake, I milk the cows then let the calf loose. Sometimes I feel sad for the calf. It only feeds for ten minutes two times in a day. So unfair. I make tea while the calf finishes suckling. I tie it under the avocado tree and leave while the morning dew is still on the grass. Sometimes I wear my black rubber shoes, but not on days like today. The heavens wept yesterday. The path is too muddy; there are pools of water all over. My black rubber shoes are still by the fire, wet.
I slide my way to school. Then there is the usual sweeping. This day is for fetching water out though. The rain water turned our class into a swamp, and we have to sweep the water out, then arrange stones under our desks. This is where we will rest our feet. Classes begin at eight, Mathematics mostly. The teacher walks in and we have moments of multiplication, addition and subtraction. By ten, the clouds are already hanging too low, a strong wind blows, the door is slammed open, and some liquid flows into the class through the openings on the walls. These were supposed to be windows (the openings I mean).
It starts raining. Then we begin our migration. All people move to the centre of the classroom. People pull their sweaters over their hands and heads. Heads rest on desks.
Outside, all hell breaks loose. Lightning flashes. Thunder storms, hard pellets of hails hit the roof.
The business of the day closes. The rains stop in time for lunch. Small bodies scramble for the door. There is some pushing and pulling, there is lots of sliding too. Some fall. One girl falls buttocks fast. Her legs up. She has no inner wear. The others laugh. She cries. Then stands up
Some distance away from school, the rain starts again. A light shower first. Then heavy rain drops. Paper bags of books are placed on heads. Then a tall tree comes to sight, ten children run for its shelter. Then as if sent, lighting flashes and descends down. Ten little bodies fall to the ground.
Day and night don’t alter a programme in their shifts. Sun no longer rises. Clouds will gather during the mornings. The sky will be forever dark. By noon, the clouds will be hanging loosely from the sky. They will be dark rainy clouds. Nimbus.
It will rain, in torrents. The first few drops will hit us hard on our faces. A raindrop will land on my neck then slide down on my back. I will run faster and open the classroom door. The rain will increase in intensity. More and more students will keep running into the classroom. Moments later, a strong wind will blow, forcing the door open.
We made it with pieces of clothes stuck between our legs to absorb our blood. We will make it through this elnino
We will give up our shoes. We will only walk barefoot. That way, we will cross the overflowing rivers better.
During the nights we will hang our uniforms by the fire to let them dry. No one will complain about the smell of smoke. All of us will be smoky come the following morning.