Drip thup plink plonk…
The rain beat down on the roof and windows of Doll Cottage. The rainy season was finally here. Doll Village had gone through a long dry season. Doll Lady and the villagers were thrilled about the rain and got busy planting. Vegetables and maize and beans. Trees, flowers and even grass.
The dolls were however not pleased. The ground was soaked. It had been raining all day, and they’d had to stay indoors.
“I hate this rain!” Fadhili finally said, frowning with his nose pressed up against the window.
“I wish it would stop raining, Jameela grumbled, holding her chin in her palm.
“The toad that wanted to avoid the rain fell in the water,” Doll Lady said, laughing.
We’re not toads though, Jameela frowned.
Of course you’re not, Doll Lady smiled. You’re my dear dolls. The proverb simply means that there’s no point trying to get away from your natural surroundings. Rain is an unavoidable and important part of our lives.
To cheer the dolls up, Doll lady made them big cups of hot chocolate with their favourite roasted sweet potatoes. She got out the large blanket which had belonged to her grandmother and set up a picnic in Doll Cottage. It was going to be a cosy afternoon of rain stories.
“Dolls, ask me what’s so important about the rain,” she said, as everyone sipped on their chocolate.
“What’s so important about the rain, Doll Lady?” Pendo asked, taking another bite of her yummy sweet potato.
“Well, said Doll Lady, I’ll answer with another African proverb. He who is not beaten by the sun or the rain, will eventually be beaten by hunger. By the way, she smiled, how’s the chocolate and sweet potato?”
“Mmmm… delicious,” Fadhili smiled, tucking into another piece.
“I’m glad you like it,” Doll Lady said. “You know dolls, the sweet potatoes grew because of the rain. So did the Cacao beans and sugar for your hot chocolate.”
“I’m beginning to like the rain more,” Jabali quipped.
“Ask me again, how important the rain is,” Doll Lady urged them.
“How important is it?” they all asked.
Well, you may not believe this, but when my grandmother was a little girl, no one was allowed to complain about the rain. If you were at a party outdoors and it rained, everyone had to just sit there with a smile on their face while they got rained on.”
The dolls laughed.
“That’s how important the rain is! “Doll Lady concluded, laughing with them.
“People knew that all the fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and even the delicious chicken and beef barbecue they enjoyed was impossible without the rain. Crops and animals… all need rain.”
“Ask me again”, she said after sipping her hot chocolate.
“How important is the rain?”
“It’s so important, she answered, that when children were born in the rainy season, they got special names that would always remind people that they had been born in a special season. Boys names like Wafula, Wambua, Okoth and Kiprop. Girls names like Akoth, Nafula, Nyambura, Syombua, Cheprop. These are names that honour the rainy season.”
“I really like that!” Pendo said. Please tell us more about names and what they mean.”
“That’s a story for next week,” Doll Lady promised. “It’s going to be a good one, so don’t miss out. I have to go now to plant some spinach in the garden. Anyone coming to help out?”
Did You Know…
There are two rainy seasons in Kenya each year. The long rains usually begin mid-March and end in May. They are called Masika in Swahili. The short rains, which fall in November and December are called Mvuli in Swahili.
Watch It Grow
It’s raining, and that’s great news. It means you can plant something, and the rain will water it for you. Plant something. Anything you like. And watch it grow. Are there seeds in the kitchen that you can plant? Beans? Lentils? Even a slice of tomato will do. Or maybe a cutting from a plant. Find a container or a spot in the garden and plant something this week.