Liberia, like much of the rest of the Equatorial world, basically has two seasons: dry and rainy. Rainy season, according to the handout Peace Corps gave us in training, generally lasts from June to September or October. The rest of the year is supposedly dry season.
I mention this because it rained last night. I can't complain about this, really; the temperature is about 15 degrees cooler than usual today, which is fantastic. Furthermore, the rain has provided a brief respite from the dust that characterizes dry season by coating everything – plants, vehicles, shoes, clothes, hair, feet, lungs – in a thick, dry, reddish-brown layer.
The downside is, the alternative to dust is mud – sticky, squishy, red-clay African mud. No matter how thoroughly I clean myself in the morning, I invariably end up covered with it within an hour of leaving the house. This is particularly embarrassing because Liberians, in general, are very clean and very well-dressed. I am constantly amazed at how well-put-together they are able to appear, whereas I feel like Pigpen from Charlie Brown, with a permanent aura of dirt wherever I go.
There are other negative aspects to the rainy season that had me hoping that I would be done with my service and gone by the time it started again. Students (surprise!) tend not to go to school when it is raining. When it rains during the day, sometimes the noise on the zinc roof is so loud that my voice cannot be heard at all above the roar. And the noise at night makes me nervous – people have told me that rainy nights are common times for break-ins; the wetness keeps most people indoors, and the noise disguises the sound of any intruder. (Though I should mention that, despite my house's lack of razor-wire fence, electric lighting at night, or security guard, which are some of the requirements for UN housing, I still generally feel quite safe).
Still, like I said before I started complaining, I really can't complain. The rainy season at my site in Kenya involved weeks and weeks without a hint of sun, weeks in which clothes never truly dried and the roads were completely impassible. So in comparison, especially considering the fact that I hardly ever travel, this is not bad at all.
In personal news, which you may or may not give a crap about: I've heard back from two out of three medical schools, and I've been wait-listed at both of them (most schools are not outright rejecting people at this point, but instead accepting or wait-listing them, at least until the end of the “interview season”). I'm resigning myself now to the fact that I most likely will not get into school this fall, and will have to reapply next year. That way, if I do get in, it will be a nice surprise, but I'll be prepared for the worst. In any case, once I look past the humiliation of rejection, and the waste of money that this round of applications cost, the prospect of having another year free is actually kind of exciting. Maybe I'll try to find an AmeriCorps position, or another one with Peace Corps Response, or maybe I'll just move to the Pacific Northwest, where much of my extended family lives. The possibilities are, if not endless, at least . . , plural.
Anyway. That's life in Liberia at the moment: wet and muddy, but generally pretty OK.