Tales

TALES

Yatapita, this rain will pass

Of nature, thunderstorms, awe and arrogance

30-04-2024 by Michele Senici

Let it rain, my love. Yatapita, it will pass!
What won't you give up? The stubborn and overbearing nature.
This is how I answer those who ask me why I decided to stay in Kenya.
To the loud, disruptive and overwhelming presence of nature.
Let it rain, my love. Yatapita, it will pass!
Not that the environment she creates interests me deeply: I don't walk on the slopes because I suffer from vertigo, I don't go on safari because it bores me, I don't swim too far out in the ocean so as not to tire myself out.
Sometimes, out of laziness, I don't even walk as far as the asphalt road and wait for a motorbike to arrive at my gate.
But never, never again would I give up watching the grass eating its way along the side of the road undisturbed.
Or the palm leaves that cover the balcony without shyness, the bamboos that grow irreverent, the centipedes that stretch out longer than the sole of my foot, the monkeys that fight for the road, the bats that only arrive when the tree that grows fruit along the trunk has made them ripe, the ocean that eats the beach twice a day.
And everything - and always - in the course of a day. I fell in love with this land when it explained my irrelevance.
Let it rain, my love. Yatapita, it will pass! Let this world of ours be different in the morning.
I will be different from how we glimpsed it until yesterday. Rain has such a balanced effect on this land.
It comes and makes its children explode in wonder: its plants, its beasts, its lands, its wells. It bursts in and destroys the exaggerations, the careless choices of man: submerged shantytowns, lives wiped out; hundreds of kilometres of concrete leveled over a swamp to make an airport, cancelled flights. Those are human bullies, and the falling rain underlines our senselessness.
To build, to authorise, to perpetuate a shantytown with a population density that cannot be explained - as if those lives existed stacked on top of each other - is human arrogance, it is exaggeration, it is forgetting that the water, once it falls in Nairobi, must return to Mombasa.
Do I have those victims on my conscience? Of course you do, but let it rain, my love. Yatapita, it will pass! Our well will be full of fresh water, our land will be green, the farmers in the plains to the south will eat their fill of rice and maize and, at least for this year, they will eat their fill.
Someone will wake up and rebuild Mathare as a land of equity, that girl will compensate with trees for the concrete esplanades, that organisation will channel the rain to the arid lands of the North. Let the rain fall and my dreams rise, my love. You and I stay here, close to the pouring rain, my love.
Yatapita, it will pass.
I need to feel the disruptive nature close, otherwise I feel omnipotent and forget why I stayed here.

Michele Senici, 1993. Educator, teacher, project coordinator.
I opened Casa Hera in Diani because I did not know where to continue my life.
Have I realised this now? Certainly not, but that's OK, at least I observe, I think, I write.

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