The rain begins as a slow putter. Drops tap tap tap as they hit the tin roof above our office, a sign that perhaps more is to come. As the rain builds I can actually see the drops falling just outside our door, which is wide open and welcoming. Little puddles become big puddles, potholes are filled with muddy water, and small streams are formed alongside the road. It sounds like rocks are being pelted against the roof, the volume of the noise generated by the rain against tin is incredible. Will it last a couple of minutes, or hours?
Yesterday I sat with Irene, my office's human rights protection officer (a lawyer by profession), discussing the type of cases that we take on and how the court system functions (or doesn't function) here. As she described the complicated process of resolving land disputes through the court system---
'if mediation fails, then a case will taken to court, if the land is unsurveyed the case begins in the Local Council I Court, and can be appealed twice, but if the land has been surveyed it begins at the Sub County Court level and can be appealed all the way up to the Court of Appeals. But there are no lawyers present at the lower level courts, and often the results of the case are influenced by the wallet...'
---as she explains all this the rain becomes heavier, the sound it produces increases, and consequently the volume of our voices is raised. We are practically shouting back and forth, just to be heard by one another. The rain fades, we speak more quietly, the volume of the rain increases, and so do our voices. We follow this pattern for about an hour.
As I get up to leave for home, despite the rain still pouring, Lucy (office assistant) says, 'first wait for it to stop.' You can't be in much of a rush here. The rain forces you to slow down, sit where you are and wait for it to lighten up. Since I move by foot I cannot do much but wait, wait for the rain to become a drizzle or for the sun to show its face.