When it rained it poured. I had never seen anything like it. Each drop splashed like its own water balloon. But we hadn’t seen rain for months. It was a season of El Ninyo.
Even the locals commented on the heat. The Philippines was said to have two seasons: hot and hotter. This was the hottest year anyone could remember. We all were rationing water. The usually wet rice fields were drying up. Fish ponds had gone down and trenches had to be dug from the sea.
When it did rain it came in waves: on and off like a switch. During typhoon season I’m sure there was such thing as wet and wetter, but I suppose this was the one good thing about a season of drought. We didn’t experience any significant tropical storms that year.
Even the Water Buffalo hole was drying up. The water was long gone. The mud was starting to thicken. We wanted to jump in the mud and roll around to cool down too.
Parched, we didn’t dare drink water offered us that wasn’t purified. My sweat had dried up, a difficult thing to accomplish in the humid air. The sun was blazing. We dragged our feet like we were crossing a dessert only we could move from the narrow shade of one coconut tree trunk to the next. Finally we reached a “tindahan,” or a small “sari sari” store, and it truly was a sorry offshoot of someone’s nippa hut. They had liter sprites. We guzzled them down in one or two tips of the green bottle, glistening beautiful water droplets trickling down the side. The only thing that stopped us from drinking it down faster was the carbonation but even that didn’t slow us down much. Suddenly the sweat from our dried pours released, soaking our white button up shirts. I wiped my forehead with my tie. The air as hot as it was, without a trace of wind, and still humid, would not take the hot water off our skin.
That is my most memorable experience of a drought.