The rain is hammering down. It sounds like a riot of handclapping and stamping, its coming down so hard around our little house. A roll of thunder. There’s a drip, drip, drip sound on the ceiling board overhead. I’m lying in bed thinking about the askaris outside, wondering if they are managing to stay dry somewhere. Wondering about the slums, whether makeshift, corrugated iron homes are being washed away down muddy slopes. I wonder if a branch might fall from the big tree outside and land crashing onto our roof, or if the blue gums on the road side will topple over as their roots lose grip in saturated soil . A lightening flash. The news headlines last week said 25 dead so far due to flooding in Turkana district, clinics and schools destroyed. It seems that El Nino has finally arrived in Kenya. Not during last October or November, but in December and now on into January when traditionally it’s dry, dusty and hot.
My parents are staying. My Dad gives me a kiss good morning at the breakfast table and it catches me by surprise, or he wants to accompany me to the supermarket and hops in the car. Later, I notice that my mum’s hand is shaking as she puts the mascara wand back into the bottle. I make a mental note to make time with them, to sit and chat and not rush about in distracted circles thinking constantly about the next meal, and not retreat to my computer too much. I wonder if I can do it. Six monthly reunions are not enough. In six months I can grow a hard shell and forget that my family is any bigger than the husband and children around me.