Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Its Like Harmattan on a Hot African Day

Three days ago, we woke up our typical 81 degree morning, but something we do not see much here: fog. Fog, as you know, develops when the temperature reaches what is called the “dew point.” Dew point is also related to humidity, especially to how uncomfortable the air feels. Back home in Michigan, when the dew point reaches the upper 60s, it begins to feel what we call “muggy.” By the time it reaches 72, the air is thick and we are sweating heavily. In Michigan, the dew point rarely reaches 74, but when it does, it is almost unbearable. Everybody complains and runs for the AC. I do not believe I ever saw a dew point of 75 in Michigan. So imagine a dew point of 81. The sweat, unable to evaporate, drips off your face and body.

Yesterday morning, I woke up to what looked initially like an overcast day. I headed outside on my morning routine (feeding chickens, weavers, deer, monkey and dogs) and saw the sun cutting through a haze. I realized I was not looking at clouds, but dust. Within minutes, I began to feel a most heavenly breeze. It was something I had not felt in 17 months: cool and dry. The humidity dropped 30 points within minutes. I stood in my yard, arms outstretched, and received the grace with a smile.

Harmattan had come. Harmattan is the name of the winds that come from the Sahara in the north. They usually occur sometime between December and February, although last year they did not come at all. This was our first experience, and after 17 months of daily working in some of the highest dew points on earth, I cannot convey the relief we felt. This morning, the dew points were in the 50s and temperature was 65F degrees for a few hours. That is the lowest temp we have felt here by at least seven degrees. I was almost cold. I even turned my bedside fan off for a few minutes. Then the mosquitoes showed up and back on it went.
But we are loving the gift of cool, fresh feeling air during this holiday break. Enjoy a few relaxing photos of the creatures in our lives. One of these days, we'll get back to work.

Dog meets Deer. Notice the delicate paw/hoof dance.

Dear meets Deer. Renita has two new kids. We spend every night with the monkey on our lap and the deer at our feet. Now we get a cool breeze to boot.

Kids in the trees, monkey on the ground. Deer supervising. Seems about right.