Where I grew up it never rained. There were clouds in the sky, big ones and small ones, storms arrived often and brought sand with them, so much sand you could not open the doors or windows anymore. But the clouds or the storm never brought rain. Where I grew up, people said prayers for the rain to come, they sang songs for the rain to arrive and danced for the rain to start but the rain never came. Most of the people never saw the rain, even if everyone often spoke about the rain. There was only one woman left, who did not only sang, prayed and danced but who, even if it was long time ago knew the rain by herself. Even if I met her everyday, I don’t know her name, she was called Bibi Mvua, Grandmother Rain by everyone. She was the slimmest and strongest woman I ever met, she chewed betel all day and spat on the floor, she had nearly no teeth left but when she smiled she looked like a queen, she did not liked to be asked for stories but I did ask her anyway, coming back to her door across the street, day after day, sitting next to hear, waiting till she started to tell the old stories, till she told me from the rain, described to me the smell of the rain, the green around and showed me a single photo, depicting her father who had some cattle, but then the war came and the rain stopped and she too, did not speak further, did not tell me more about the war, the cattle and the missing rain.
In the long summer holidays I visited my grandmother in Germany, my grandmother was called Ami and I thought maybe my grandmother could tell me more about the rain and maybe show me the rain itself. And when she asked me, picking me up from the airport, if I had a wish for the long holidays to come, I asked her to show me the rain. But the sky outside the window was blue and crisp clear, everyday, when I woke up, I drew my grandmother to the window, asking her when the rain would begin, but my grandmother shook her head, not even a single cloud appeared on the sky. But she took me upon her lap, put up a record on the old, vibrating player and the tempest began. I was frightened, this should be the sound of the rain? My grandmother told me the story of Donar, the frightful ruler, standing on his billy-goat drawn carriage ruling with lightening and thunder. But I preferred the much more friendly rain pouring down on the streets, the cattle and the strawberries of my grandmother’s garden beyond the house. And finally after a long time of waiting, one day, very early in the morning my grandmother woke me up, the rain she said, it is here. And we both hand in hand ran barefoot down the stairs into the garden, she turning me around till we both were soaking wet, me licking the raindrops running down my cheeks away, she with undone hair, both of us standing in the rain, laughing and singing silly rhymes. And later that day I filled a bottle with rainwater for Bibi Mvua, the woman who knew the rain when no one else did anymore and when I was back, I ran to her house across the street and without in need of saying a word, she saw the bottle, full of grey, mouldy water and knew that the rain was back in a place, where after the war, the rain did stop coming and like her father probably would never return.