Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Set the World on Fire

June, July and August are our dry seasons. The rains have stopped completely and all the green grass, bushes and trees slowly turn brown. 

One reason the trees are so brown is because of the dust that blows through the air and settles on the leaves. 

The grass begins to die and the fields are lying fallow after the harvest. Nothing will be planted until October or November.

One reason the trees are so brown is because of the dust that blows through the air and settles on the leaves. 

As farmers look ahead to the planting season they prepare their fields. One way they do this is by burning. While this is common practice in the U.S for grasslands because it kills off weeds, promotes growth of the right kind of grass, here it just seems like something that's been done for years and so it continues on. 

It's true that it probably kills off weeds, but it also turns to top soil very powdery and ashy. 

Plus, between the dust in the air and the ashes it's really hard to breathe during these months.

When we first moved to Africa and burning season began I would panic as huge fires  broke out were intentionally set in the fields right next to our house. I would search through my evac plans in my head, make sure I knew where all our passports were, and think about what could be packed quickly. 

Then nothing would happen. Nothing ever happened. And so, ten years on I usually just sigh and mutter about the state of my lungs, but I don't panic anymore.

Not usually that is. Last night the fire was a little too real. 

The committee for the big annual traditional ceremony thought (in their infinite wisdom) that starting a fire in the field surrounding the arena yesterday afternoon was a good idea.

By 9 PM the fire was raging and threatening our fence line. Tom filled buckets and passed them to Zeger who wet the grass on the outside of the fence hoping to keep the fire back. 

Normally we have a fire break dug around our property but we'd heard rumors the committee wasn't going to burn this year. We heard wrong apparently.

Thankfully, the fire eventually burned out and we could rest easier. My lungs complained all night, but at least our grass roofs are all still intact.

Photos for this post generously provided by Zeger. And the field that was burning in the photos was our own. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sweet sister, Ruth!

Exactly Two Years Ago: Sundays in My City--Playtime


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