The rain came running. I could hear it; feel the wind that carried it, before the first drops fell. I sat pondering time and tadpoles while enjoying the breeze until the rain began to run under the door. Walking to the back of the house where Sierra Leone was napping, rain snuck through the small openings in his windows (there is no glass, instead the university has boarded up all but a quarter of the window – leaving a cut out covered in mosquito netting at the top).

I sat beside him nudging him gently and he mumbled, “you love the rain” through his sleep distorted voice.

I do love the rain. But this rain was brash, the thunder brazen. I could hear the storm banging fruit from the trees, lifting the tin off the roof, and puffing the curtains in and out like some crazed wolf from a three little pigs fairy tale. Suddenly, God cleared her throat. I started and SL laughed.

“what was that?”

“Just the rain.”

“Is this what the rainy season is like?” I asked disbelieving.

“Yes,’ he answered laughing at me.

A few minutes later we heard someone knocking at the door. Aaron stood on the front steps, clothes stuck to him and the cooled air visibly chilling him. He was speaking quickly as he walked into the house – headed directly for SL’s office. It took a moment…a moment and the water streaming into the office to realize what he was saying.

The roof had blown off.


About a quarter of the tin roof had blown completely off the house and wrapped itself around a tree. That left a gaping hole the size of the office in the roof and water was pouring in. every few moments a different section of the ceiling would yield a hole or seam and brown water would gush through into the buckets we tried to assemble beneath them. But there were more breaches than buckets and eventually a whole section of the ceiling caved in raining the turbid water onto the bed and floor. Then another gave way.

SL watched from doorway, his posture and expression barely changing.

We hurried about, collecting his books and papers, his clothes and electronics the best we could. Eyeing the ceiling in each room as we worked the ceiling tiles darkened where rain water had blown into puddles and settled their weight ready to descend onto the floor below.

Darkness fell, blending the indoor puddles with creeping shadows. The rain subsided but the clouds still lingered and thunder rumbled in the distance like a hungry stomach.

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