The meaning of rain

I got back to Addis last night, and it rained today, for the first time since I got to Ethiopia. Apparently it rained all weekend. Owen Barder explains the (unfortunate) significance for local farmers:
Over the weekend we were trekking in the north of Ethiopia. The fields were full of wheat and barley, looking (to my inexpert eye) about 3 weeks from harvest (see the picture, right, taken on 29th November). The farmers all said they were looking forward to a good harvest this year.

Then last night, we woke up to torrential rain. I gather it was raining in Addis Ababa too. It doesn’t normally rain at this time of year in Ethiopia. If this continues for another day or two, the crop will be ruined.

The rain today is an unwelcome reminder of how precarious is the livelihoods of millions of people who are dependent on rain coming at the right time (and not at the wrong time). It can turn a good harvest into a bad one, or into no harvest at all. Affected families may be forced to sell their meagre assets, pushing not only them but their children into another generation of chronic poverty.

Our thoughts today are with the millions of farmers of Ethiopia and their families.
Puts complaining about a rainy weekend in an entirely new perspective...

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