The drumming on the tin roof is enormous, but I no longer fear being trapped by the torrent. The rains are short, now, and slowly the drum-drum turns into a drop-drop and then drip-drip and silence.

The saa, or rain, is the essential piece of the growing season, and what limits the Northern Region to a single growing season compared to multiple in the South. The rains usually continue strongly through August until early November. The saa is missing from Karaga District this year, and farmers are praying, praying for more rain. There were even problems two weeks ago, before I left my district.

Now the situation is dire, and those that did not plant their maize early are watching it wither and yellow, the rice fields are parched and plants miniscule, and the soya have sprouted their pods but cannot fill them with beans.

Thirsty plants cannot grow, and my heart is filling with dread as I’m thinking of the implications of this disaster on my district, and on my people. How will the year progress once I’m gone, once the dry season has set in and everyone is measuring meager meals for themselves, stretched funds and stretched bags of crops that should have been full? But even with careful planning, it’s hard to win against the weather.

So myself, also, I’m looking for the saa.


About Janine Reid

What is Janine? -board game enthusiast -political observer -Vancouverite -questioner -listener -health provider
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4 Responses to Saa

  1. This is really powerful, Janine. It serves to remind us how quintessentially insecure a farmer’s livelihood is. The types of risk protection that we can afford in Canada is no comparison — the saa represents everything. Thanks for sharing

  2. elimacher says:

    The rainy season in Zambia is supposed to start soon. You’ve just made me feel the anxiety that must come when your livelihood is dependent on the weather.

    We had a few early showers here… hopefully a good sign for Zambia’s farmers. At the very least it makes land prep easier.

  3. Grace says:

    Thanks for this post. It’s definitely a reminder of what the reality is for people living in Karaga. And I remember the word saa from that activity that you sent us at the beginning of the year, the one with no answer key. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Development Digest – 28/10/11 « What am I doing here?

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