|Queueing for water, for days, near Mtito, |
SE Kenya. No sand dams here.
|Seed bank, Kevanda, SE Kenya|
Of course Auden is the man who in later life described some of his 30’s poems, such as ‘Spain’ and ‘September 1, 1939’ as “trash” which he was “ashamed to have written”. Thank goodness he wasn’t able to throw them down a memory hole.
|Tree nursery, Meka, SE Kenya|
It’s raining outside…. a week ago that would have seemed astonishing, as it had rained once since mid-March. A spring without rain is unnatural. Anyway at the weekend it rained non-stop all afternoon and evening and night, and some of the next day, and there have been showers ever since. The effect on birds is amazing – I hadn’t heard a thrush since March, but now they are singing again. And the blackbirds have got much more vocal. When I walk along the station platform, I can hear two wrens singing, one either side. Also the birdsong sounds much more liquid – revived, just as coloured pebbles are by water.
No robins, though. A black cat with white paws from across the road killed one of the pair nesting in the ivy hedge, who were my constant garden companions. I think they raised one brood. I hope so.
Rain brings out the poets too. Which 1950s magazine editor said that whenever it rained, he got lots of rain poems in the next post? I think Sylvia Plath comes into this story somehow.
|Building a sand dam|
In some places in the world, a year’s only rain can fall in a couple of days. Or not at all. Have you heard of sand dams? They provide rural communities in semi-arid areas with clean water, and raise the water table at the same time. They are low-maintenance and last for decades. The inspiration for them came from a local farmer.
|Irrigating tomatoes, Mansenviro|
“Your heart is your forest”. Kenyan saying
|Kevanda self-help group discussion|