Some images from my final rainy season in Burkina.
Beginning of rainy season: huge dust storms precede each rain storm. Later in the season, there's enough moisture in the ground to hold down the dust, but it's quite dramatic in June. That thing that the girl is looking out is a gust of dust-wind. In case you were wondering why I complain about dust and how everything gets dirty all the time, now you see. Photo taken from my bush taxi window on the way out of Ouaga.
Later in rainy season, storm clouds rolling in from the east. Rain always comes from the east. I believe that I had just woken up and was going to go pump water when I saw these clouds coming. So I went back to bed. Photo taken over my courtyard wall.
A village courtyard in rainy season. I took the picture because I was excited by the amount of green in the background. From November to June, the only green thing that one would normally see in this picture is the plastic jug in the foreground. Photo taken in Tanwoko, a neighboring village only accessible from mine by canoe...
River crossing between my village and Tanwoko. This river dries up completely during dry season and you can just walk across. Rainy season has been a pain for my agriculture project because everyone that I'm working with is on the other side of the river. As it is, it costs between 100 and 500 francs to cross it in a canoe (depending on how many other people are in the canoe with you/how high the water level is/how good of a mood the guy on your canoe is in). Burkinabes are terrified of the canoes for some reason, and they always tell stories about canoes tipping over and people drowning. The thing is that the water really doesn't move that fast, and I don't think it's more than 6 or 7 feet deep at its deepest, whereas most of it is about 4 feet deep during peak rainy season.
That said, the canoes are not in terribly good condition. They always have a ton of water in the bottom. This guy was bailing water out of the canoe for the entire 10 minutes it took us to cross the river. Comforting.
Terrified Burkinabes crossing the river.
The donkey seemed more chilled out about the situation than the Burkinabes did. Last time I crossed the river, I saw another canoe with 15 goats in it. This is why I always need to carry a camera with me.
End of rainy season: Ami harvests her beans in early October. She started every morning around 5 am and stopped working by 8 or 9 am when it started to get too hot. I helped her and her 2 kids, and we finished the one field after a week. The rains weren't great this year. The season started late (it wasn't until the beginning of August that it really rained consistently enough for cultivating) and it ended early (rains effectively stopped by mid-September). Millet harvests are not good. Beans did pretty well, though. Also, everyone got really into cultivating sesame this year for some reason.
A solid bean harvest set out to dry in my friend Eric's courtyard. Once the pods are dry and brittle enough, they beat them with a stick to release the beans and then use wind to blow away the pods. If that technique seems like it would leave a lot of rocks and debris in the beans after extraction, well, yes, it does.
That's rainy season in village for you.