Thursday June 27, 2013

To the editor of THE EAGLE:

The advent of predictable afternoon rain following hours of scorching sun is reminiscent of the seasonal weather pattern in coastal West Africa. As a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Liberia decades ago, I reveled under the deluge which occurred between July and October. Chased home from clinic by the gathering clouds, I ran to shower in the column of water formed by the downspout of the tin roof covering my mud and bamboo hut.

One could watch the gathering storm clouds form until, by 4 p.m., a crack of thunder would herald a 30-minute monsoon. All conversation would be drowned out, while outside, the villagers’ gourds, calabashes and metal drums would be filled for their next days’ use.

To my jaded eye, it was a simpler time then, with afternoon storms bringing relief from the incessant tropical heat. Wet season rains were the closest thing we had to running water in our unelectrified forest village. Kitteabo people welcomed the rains despite the flooded roads and rising Cavalla river.

I do not imagine that we Berkshirites would be as accepting were this to become a predictable change in our summers’ afternoon weather. A trip to West Africa in the "rainy season" might however, just change our minds.

JONATHAN KRANT, M.D.

Pittsfield

Dr. Krant is chief medical officer for the Global Healthy Living Foundation.