It’s September and I am thinking of the fall back home. The escape from summer beginning, the leaves changing colors, the saturday night lights turning back on (GO RAZORBACKS), the warm apple cider and whiskey before bed, the comfort of wrapping myself up in sweaters and scarves, the excitement I got eating from new fall menus, and the sweet smell apple-pumpkin candles everywhere that I go. It’s my favorite time of the year for both my skin and my soul. The warm, windy days and the cool, crisp nights; I miss it every morning I wake up sweating bullets down here in Guyana.
People have often asked me what the weather is like living by the equator.
Leh me tell you, budday. De place be hot bad!!!!!
Technically the temperatures range from 80 to 90 degrees, but the 100% humidity (and being what feels like zero distance from the sun) makes most afternoons sweaty and miserable. Truthfully, it’s always hot in Guyana but we do have two seasons: a dry season and a rainy season.
During the dry season, everything… well, dries up. The afternoons are slow, water tanks run low, vegetables and fruits become less abundant and more expensive, and the sun drains all of your energy by 10am. But it’s not so bad when you catch a good breeze. This invisible magic is so sweet to your skin that you will stop everything you are doing just to enjoy it. This will help you get through. That and a nice, cold juice from auntie up the road.
The rainy season is hard to track these days with climate changes, but based on the chatter in the market, May to July is when it rains the most. The severity of rainfall varies from different regions, but flooding during this time is pretty common everywhere you go. This is why most houses are typically built on tall stilts. Rain restores crops, water supplies, and cools down the place but it causes a lot of damage as well. Heavy rain and flooding destroy farms, roads, foundations, and make transportation extermely difficult. Some volunteers in Region 9 had to take small boats across town because the flooding had reached over twenty something feet. So when the rain falls, it really falls.
Flooding in Lethem, Guyana (Region 9)
PHOTO BY: PCV Chris Sutton in Aishalton Village
I’ve lived here for eight months now and I’ve gotten used to these extreme weather patterns (and sweating all the time). I’ve never quite had an experience where almost everything is dependent on the weather. Food, water, shelter. This aspect of living in Guyana truly reminds me that I’m living in a developing nation. There is no hope in seasons changing like there is in the US. There isn’t a way to hide from the heat or strong standing infrastructure in place to prevent natural disasters; it just happens and you adjust. It’s a hard way of living, but this is their world and the Guyanese thrive at making it work without a single drop of sweat (literally). Just boats, breezes, and brilliance.
Sunny day in Linden, Guyana (Region 10)
Do I like the hot weather?
Hah noooo, not at all. But I can’t complain. I’m learning to work through the heat and adjusting to how things change with the rainfall like my fellow Guyanese. Let’s just say I’m really looking forward to the day I’ll feel fall weather again 😉