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Of Global Warming, Heavy Rains And Baby Making 

By Elsie Sume & Cynthia Akenji* — It doesn’t rain; it pours, goes the adage. When it rained cats and dogs in the days of yore, it took the biblical Noah’s Arc to ferry God’s few righteous people to safety. These days however, man’s political diplomacy has replaced this ancient Noah’s Arc.

And getting the world’s populations to take cognizance of a menacing global warming may well be the answer to the rather disturbing rainy and dry seasons. Besides grounding many a business, the rains, nonetheless, cause others to boom. At about this time last year, the Government of Cameroon was grappling with rain-induced floods in many parts of the country. The arid Northern Regions were swamped overnight by ravaging floods that swept off man, beast and habitat.

The Northwest Region wasn’t spared either. A rather embarrassed Government, with the Head of State himself heading the emergency teams, hurried to the North to offer sympathy and succour to the afflicted people. On the flip side of the “flooding divide”, namely Nigeria, humans, animals and property practically sailed with the flood waters, some of which emanated all the way from broken dykes in Northern Cameroon.

As we write this piece, the Nigerian Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, is in Cameroon visiting potential flood waterways with her Cameroonian counterpart and deciding on contingencies. The two Governments are said to be determined not to be caught pants down, like was the case last year, when the absence of “flood diplomacy” left both countries marooned.

Good, Bad, Ugly Rains

That said, rains, beget the good, the bad and the ugly. Across many Cameroonian cities, towns and villages, some inhabitants complain that it has compromised the growth of their activities, while others perceive a surge in theirs.

There are those with very scanty wardrobes who practically dry them over fire places or use charcoal or electric pressing irons to dry them. A certain Damaris Sakwe told The Post that she washed her dresses a week earlier, but was forced to wear them damp because she didn’t just have an alternative.

Some farmers we talked to expressed the inconveniences they face while going to their farms during this rainy season because of bad roads. They also complained of low yields as the rains destroy some particular crops along with the ridges on which they are planted. “My huckleberry has been washed away; some just rot while others don’t grow at all. This causes me to lose lots of money. I spend time spraying the farm with chemicals, just to ensure that I have a good harvest but all to no avail,” said a Buea-based a vegetable farmer, Rebecca.

This goes for traders of the Buea Central Market, who say they encounter lots of difficulties transporting their goods to and from the market. They complain of not having good sales, as customers do not have easy access to the market that is drenched in stench and squalor.
According to Adeline Masi, her fresh tomatoes business is now very slow. She said she buys them from farmers to sell on market days, but most often the fruits perish, amounting to great losses.

Taxi drivers could be said to be some of the hardest hit business people during the rainy season. Besides the fact that thousands of their regular clients, school children, are often on long vacation at this time, hundreds of other commuters are held back at home by rain and cold. To make matters worse, they must also contend with quarrelsome owners of taxis, who don’t seem to understand the vicissitudes of commuting in the rain.

Enter Road Contractorss

The Post discovered that in a town like Buea, which a few months back was bubbling with the frenzy of welcoming the Head of State, has sort of “recoiled”. The earth moving machines have gone silent, a clear sign that Mr. Biya may not be arriving here pretty soon, since it was mooted that he could only do so when major road and other works are completed. Again, the township is dotted with muddy and slippery dug-up patches of roads that may only be tarred when the rains are gone.

Motorbike riders, popularly known as benskinners, also complain that their business has been affected by the rains to the extent where they now adapt umbrellas and other waterproof materials to shade both bikers and those they transport. The muddy and slippery state of roads often times sends their passengers and themselves to the hospital. In addition, a staff of the St. John Hospital Molyko, told The Post that most people get sick during the rainy season. Illnesses like cough, catarrh, asthma, pneumonia are prevalent, owing to cold weather.

In a manner of speaking, the rains have also practically taken the liquor business to bed.
“Business is very slow; I bought drinks two weeks ago and they are still in the store,” Charles Ndumbe, a bar tender at Mile 16, told The Post. Bricklayers, carpenters and other construction workers are “left out in the cold” at this period. Thomas Ebot had this to say: “Since we don’t work, there is no money to feed my family and prepare my children for the 2013/2014 academic year. I am now looking for a temporary job, which is something I do every rainy season.”

Lest we forget, businesses that thrive during this rainy season include the hawking of umbrellas, water-proof shoes, and other relevant products. All said, the impact of the rains is nowhere better felt than in child conception. Arguably, cold and wet periods often play tricks on the minds of the average man and woman that are stuck indoors and are very often bed-bound. The babies are more likely to be made during this period. Willy-nilly.

*(UB Students On Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01454

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