By Gbolahan Badmus
The sun in Kano, as usual, was unshielded by clouds, shining in its fullest glory. Flies and bees competed in harmony for the fallen or half-eaten mangoes littered under the trees; the dried-up ones left for the soles of wandering feet. Some flies completely abandoned the mangoes, and teased us by singing annoying music to our ears. We slapped our cheeks in a failed attempt to strike them dead. Others swirled above the heads of goats, like a form of dirty halo. The goats unperturbed by the flies, chewed peacefully of what was left of the recently mowed grass, trying to fill their bellies or shaving the head of the earth bald. A kid-goat, searching for its mother, shrilled like a newborn child. Beautiful butterflies (or moths) in the shade of yellow and white fluttered mindlessly, hopping from one plant to another. The sun drilled for sweat from our skins and succeeded in excess.
Then the wind suddenly picked itself up and began running and howling in no particular direction, like a madwoman who has a short time to expend all of her virile energies. It first ran off with all of our sweat. One brush of its hands sent the flies and the fluttering butterflies (or moths) to beyond. It ruffled the trees, and they flailed their branches like a church congregation waving hallelujah in ecstasy. The leaves on the trees, that failed to hang on, and the birds, whose wings could not withstand the non-directional current of the wind, were flung and tossed in every way. The wind resurrected grains of sand and formed them into a mini sandstorm clothed with dust. And under its command they began to paint everywhere with a touch of brown; forcing their ways through windows, doors and anything opened–even mouths. Clothes that hanged without pegs became flying birds of cotton, some were caught in flight by the branches of trees; others crash landed, immediately feasted upon by the roaming sand-dust. We protected our eyes with our hands, half-blindly walking to wherever our feet led.
As the wind reigned below, the clouds gathered, shielding the skies from the wind’s terror. They converged in an opaque grey shielding the sun whole. Then they sent down a jagged flash, immediately accompanied by a loud bellow, before unleashing their brimming bowels. Pellets of rain drummed unevenly on the aluminum rooftops and on the ground, transforming dust into mud. We all avoided the plummeting drops like an aquatic plague, fleeing to the nearest shelter; only the trees stood rooted, opening it arms to this heavenly downpour. Goats, dogs and man huddled together under eaves, but the wind still tossed the rain to drench us where we stood, and left a trail of goose bumps on our skins as traces of its breath.
After a long struggle, the rain eventually whipped the mad wind to a gentle breeze of submission. It was then it ceased to fall. The clouds too dispersed and revealed the sun whole. The butterflies (or moths) soon resumed their fluttering, as the birds flew. Goats, dogs and man, came out from hiding, drenched. Other proofs of the downpour were the muddy ground, stagnant puddles (floating with refuse) and the mud-stained clothes.