Living Near a Desert
30 years ago…We were living in Gaborone, Botswana, which is on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. We were in the middle of the summer months and the weather was extremely hot with temperatures sometimes reaching over 40°C. Occasionally we would see stormy clouds in the sky and wonder if we would be lucky enough to have some rain that day.
The storms were quite frightening with extreme winds sometimes before a storm. I can remember leaving windows open at the house and because of the dryness there was so much dust being forced in the winds that this would cause a dust storm. Everything got covered in dust. You soon learnt to close your windows as the whole house needed dusting.
There were extreme flashes of lightning and loud cracks of thunder as the storms got closer. We always had a theory that for every four seconds you counted, between the flash of lightning and the loud cracks of thunder, was the equivalent to the storm being a mile away. So as the flashes of lightning came, you would count down and work out roughly how far away the storm was while you waited to hear the thunder. The storm could be there one min and gone the next and occasionally this caused flash floods.
There was always great excitement when the storms were near and we would look out the window and watched the rain pelting down outside. Sometimes it even hailed which could be quite frightening. Jamie used to get very excited when it rained and we would often put a bucket outside to collect rainwater. He had his gum boots and after the rains have passed he would enjoy paddling in the puddles of water.
After the storms had passed by green shoots of grass would appear in the countryside and all the Thorn trees would get their green foliage.
Hughan never seemed to be worried or frightened by the loud cracks of thunder and was generally a very happy baby. I would take him for his regular checkups to get weighed in Gaborone. He had had all of his baby injections locally and the clinic was really happy with his progress.