God Bless The Rains Down In Africa

“It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa”

Namibia is a land of contrasts. It’s dry for most of the year here in The Namib Desert if you don’t count the fog that occasionally rolls in from The Atlantic. Most days where I am it is sunny, breezy and warm. Not overly warm, the heat felt elsewhere in The Namib is moderated here by the cool ocean winds. There are the few days a year, sometimes only a few minutes a year, when there is rain.

Fog on the beach in Swakopmund

As luck would have it, I missed the rainfall that dampens this area for two years in a row. I was traveling up in Oland last year. This year the rains came early, while I was on a trip to Windhoek. Friends texted me about the weather I was missing. The air in Windhoek didn’t look particularly promising for precipitation, but when I went to sleep that night I could smell the rain in the air.

Evening in Katutura, Windhoek

I woke to a cool cloudy morning. I made coffee and took a look outside my hotel room and noticed that the ground was wet. Steel grey clouds hung low and moved sluggishly through the hills nearby.

As I watched, a light drizzle began and slowly got heavier. The shhhh of the many raindrops hitting cars and roofs and trees was soon accompanied by a symphony of drips and plops of water from those surfaces. Then, as if God wanted to add a finishing flourish, a single blue-white strobe of lightning flashed followed by a deep rumble of thunder.

Morning rain in Windhoek

Just as slowly as it had begun, the downpour slowed to a drizzle, then stopped.

“The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become”

My colleagues and I had two meetings to attend. The morning had promised more rain, but that promise was largely unfulfilled. The sun broke through the clouds, warming the streets and turning the cool, damp air into a steam bath.

With our meetings done, we headed back. We took the B2, The Trans Kalahari Highway, towards Swakopmund. The sun followed us and it looked as though the rains I saw in the morning would be all there was. But as we approached Karibib the weather changed. Ahead of us was a storm that darkened the horizon. Several flashes of lightning flickered through the clouds around us and the wind grew stiff and cool.

Storm up ahead

We drove into a downpour. There was so much water that the parched sand couldn’t absorb it fast enough and large puddles, some could easily be thought of as ponds, formed. By the time we got to Karibib the heaviest part of the storm had passed, but the water it left behind told just how serious the storm was.

The main street in Karibib was flooded, in places it was knee deep. Towns in The Namib aren’t designed to manage water and as we drove through we could see streams of water cascading down from the hillsides, adding to the pools we drove through.

Flooding in Karibib

As we drove towards Usakos the clouds had broken and blue could be seen through the grey. A light drizzle followed us for a bit then gave up the pursuit. We stop at a station outside of Usakos to stretch. I looked back at the passing storm and found a rainbow arching over the mountains.

The rain has passed

“Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you…
It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never have”
(Lyrics: Africa by Toto, Songwriters: David Paich, Jeff Porcaro)

Stay tuned.

Vern

10 thoughts on “God Bless The Rains Down In Africa

  1. Hi Vern! I am happy to find you on the web. I remember you from the Lake Underhill Facility in Orlando. Miss your smile! I am Angela. I was researching Namibia and found your YouTube video called “Owambo Culture Language”. My research started with a video located at this link => https://youtu.be/TfCqjIBfLew. What do you think about the references to Namibia?

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    • Hi Angela,
      I’m happy you found me too! Makes for a smaller world.

      I’ve been in Namibia for about 17 months now. If you’ve read through any of my blog posts you’ll know that my time here has been an adventure.

      It’s not quite what I expected, but it has managed to blow me away more times than I can count. Mostly it’s the raw beauty of the place. I love the U.S. but true natural wonder are increasingly becoming hard to find. Here I find by stepping out my back door.

      Why were you reaching Namibia? Are you planning a trip? If you are or just need some comments from someone who is here, let me know. Happy to help.

      Vern

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  2. Small world indeed! I would like to learn about ancient traditions and culture of Namibia. It would be great to learn why the customs were performed. I would also like to make a trip to Namibia and visit the Kalahari desert in Botswana some time in the future. Where should I begin with learning about Namibian pre-colonial customs?

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    • Well, I’d probably start with the Great Bantu Migration. That was precolonial. Most Namibians are of Bantu origin. Also look into Kchotway (spelling may be wrong). They were in the northern portion of Namibia. The Zulu and their derivatives were in the south.

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      • Excellent recommendation! Researching now. Looks like Etosha is the correct spelling. I will continue to follow your blog to learn even more. This is a well-timed divine connection. I believe the Almighty God has you on divine assignment.

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  3. Hi Vern, I’m blog binging again. LOL Loved the two blogs about the Zambezi. So interesting how different regions live. Life sounds so less complicated there. How nice! Great photos too. Sorry to hear about your camera, though. That happened to my Canon G15, and I had to get it repaired. Hope you brought a couple of extras along. Maybe you’ll get to see that elephant before you have to leave in 7 months. That would be so cool! Denise

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  4. So cool to link the song to the rain. When I travelled your country, the song was on my playlist and I would play it whenever I felt homesick. Now you are here and the same song features. Coincidence, I think not! 🙂

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    • Hi Christine,
      It’s always been one of my favorite tunes. For the longest time I thought the lyrics were, “I guess it rains down it Africa…”

      Never occurred to me to look the lyrics up. Glad I did. 😁

      Where did you go when you visited the U.S.?

      Vern

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