Rain has always been the thread sewing my experiences together. It’s been present in every country I’ve visited, a peaceful constant in a world of diversity. I’ve always taken comfort in knowing that no matter where I am in the world, rain will be there with me.
I was a week into my trip to Ghana and the humidity was so thick I could taste it on my lips. Begging for rain, I had yet to feel a single drop of water from a sky of seemingly endless cloud cover. Six months of dry season had left the country in a thin layer of dust. It covered everything from the buildings of Accra to leaves on the trees found within deep forests. Each day I washed a fresh layer of filth from my feet, pausing first to let myself believe that maybe, this time, the discoloration was due to a tan instead of dirt.
When I left Accra, I headed to the coast where life felt more bearable. Gentle gusts of wind coming from the sea rolled over me as I spent my days under dusty palm trees watching lukewarm waves carry surfers to shore. I was in Busua, a village I’m still not entirely sure how to pronounce. I’d assumed it was bus-ou-uh at first, but then I heard friends in Accra referring to it as bous-way. When I arrived at the village, I discovered locals called it bous-e-uh, but I wasn’t sure if this was the English pronunciation or if this was what it was called in their local dialect. I should have asked and I don’t know why I didn’t.
I’d been introduced by a mutual friend to a man named Kofi, who lived in Busua. My friend said Kofi knew where to find good fufu, a Ghanaian dish I’d been wanting to try. He was a tall, peaceful man with a smile stretching the length of his arms. When I asked him what he did most days and he shrugged and said he hungout on the beach and rented surfboards to tourists when it was busy. “I just chill,” he laughed, and a smile lit up across his face. We were walking down Busua’s stretch of beach in silence. Each of us had drifted off into our minds, daydreaming of the hammocks and shade awaiting our return.
“It’s raining,” Kofi said, pulling me from my thoughts and back into reality. I didn’t see any rain, but he insisted it was there. Moments later, he made the claim again, this time with proof. I don’t know I’d have noticed it on my own, but there it was: the tiniest splash of a raindrop resting midway up his forearm. It was only a matter of time before I felt a droplet hit my arm as well. We continued down the beach, anticipating a shower that never came.
Ghana didn’t give me a rainy day. I didn’t find myself caught in a sudden downpour with nowhere to take shelter. The idea that I’d even considered packing an umbrella for this trip is laughable now. By the end of that walk, I had four drops of water on my arms and I cherished each of them individually. Each one connected Ghana to the rest of my life and the next time I find myself in a new place searching for rain, I will think of them.
Read more from Dana over at her blog, What’s It Like.
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