It’s bizarre how this entire country shuts down when it rains. It’s not that it slows, or that a few people close up shop. When it pours, everything STOPS. Normally, this isn’t too terrible a thing. It rains in the afternoon, so shops close early, and everyone gets a free evening (provided they can find a moto-taxi willing to take them home, of course). Yesterday, I was late coming back from lunch, because it started pouring while in transit to the Bureau. I couldn’t find a moto willing to brave the wet, so I hung out under an overhang with some Beninese guys until the deluge lightened. Nobody thought it was strange at all to be late because I couldn’t find a ride in the rain.
It rained all night last night. It had paused when I woke up this morning, but the downpour recommenced as I was leaving for my morning ride. Needless to say, I didn’t bike today. It didn’t let up, but I figured it wasn’t a big deal.
In America, rain just means you’d better grab an umbrella on your way out the door. In Benin, kids stay home from school. It’s 9am, and there are only 3 people at the office. They’re admiring my dedication, and I’m finding it puzzling that no-one else has shown up. If you don’t live in the neighbourhood, you’ve got to moto to work, and who wants to moto in the rain?
So here I am. Nothing to do. I had the foresight to bring a book and stationary this morning. The storm is changing from a hard shower to thunder, so I don’t imagine too many more people will show up today. And you know what the worst part is? I’m not irritated that people aren’t here. I’m worried that my poor kitten who’s terribly afraid of thunder is home by himself, with no lap to curl up in when he’s scared.