Rain à la Thiaroye

I love rain. It has a melancholic sense to it, it doesn’t have the sticky dryness of the sun, its thousands of drops transform our surroundings into colour and make one dream about…

When it rains in Thiaroye, it truly rains.

Here it comes from the sky in waterfalls sometimes lasting for hours on end. Days are spent inside, waiting for electricity to come back so that the family can spend its time watching television. Outside, children dance in the rain, running through thigh-high water, their laughter nearly drained out by the sound of rushing wetness.

When there is no electricity, we stand upon the balcony and look down upon Thiaroye; buses, taxis, horse carts and even bicycles rush through the brown sea.
A girl is dancing and hopping underneath a water pipe, its spray of water like a shower.
An old man looks out of his boutique with a helpless stare, not knowing how to cross this liquid mess.
A woman ‘wades’ to the market with a plastic bag over her head, desperately trying to protect her ‘greffage’ (a wig that is sewn into one’s real hair).
The water-pumping-truck finally arrives into the ghetto and starts its infernal work. On the balcony, laughter breaks out when we discover a full tea setup in the front of the truck; gas, a teapot, some fresh mint leaves, sugar and of course the little transparent tea glasses.

“Mai ma sa ataya!” (Give me your tea!), we shout out, knowing they won’t hear us through the curtain of rain.

In the ghetto, the rainy season brings many problems. The streets are transformed into rivers, roofs drip, mattresses and clothes get wet. Additionally there are often electricity and water cuts so that for the Senegalese, the rain is not a welcome companion.

After not having seen, not having touched any rain after half a year, I however, (literally) danced with joy. Living in Senegal truly teaches one to be happy about the small things in life. Drops touch your skin, you stand upon the balcony and you watch in silence, fully content within the moment.

At night, when everything calms down, the whole family sits together in the living room and conversation takes its flow, inspired by the flickering candle light and the tap tap of the last few drops falling from the sky.

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Photographs by Alice Granier

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