Bajans don’t like to get wet! Although we are surrounded by water, if you ask the average Bajan when was the last time they went to the sea, you get a blank far away stare as they search their memory. Other than showering or bathing, Barbadians don’t like to be in water. I think it goes back to the parents of the silent generation 1925 – 1945 and earlier. When Sandra begged her mother to go to the beach which was literally across the street, she would respond, “You’re not a tourist, you got work round here to do!” Or, “No, De sea ain got no back door!”*
You would think that a culture that carries umbrellas for the sun, (which by the way is great idea), would be prepared for the rain when it falls. However, rain here in Barbados can be like snow in the US! If you get too much, events can be cancelled. Not just outdoor events, school and public meetings held indoors are sometimes rescheduled due to rain. In fact, “If de rain is settin up.”** people get concerned.
Last summer I was asked on a Friday, if we were going to cancel a church picnic the following day because the “rain was setting up.” Needless to say, Saturday was a bright sun shiny day and we had a wonderful picnic! Sunday mornings we can expect only 1/2 of our congregation to show up if is rains before church regardless of the amount of precipitation because our members don’t want to get wet.
During the week there is a steady stream of pedestrian traffic on our street with people going to work, children going to school and people running errands as we live on the main road heading to Oistins. However, on rainy mornings there is virtually no one out. I’m not sure if Bajans just wait until it stops raining or if they stay in for the day. Sandra’s mother always told her that when it’s raining to stand (stay) home, don’t go at people’s house, stay out the rain. It’s funny, there is a saying that the same Bajans that run away from the rain will run towards a fire to spectate, but that is blog for another day!
Actually, you can see the rain coming from a distance because Barbados is virtually flat. The Tradewinds come from the east and that is where the rain comes the majority of the time. Sandra and I don’t even close the windows on the above (west) side of our house, not even during a tropical storm. I can only recall once in the 2 years that rain has come from that direction.
The rain season is roughly June to November. You can expect some rain most days often in short burst followed by the sun coming back hotter than ever! Occasionally there is flooding on some roads if there is a long and heavy rain. Rainy season is the time of year when Barbados turns lush and green after the dry season.
Rainy season coincides with the hurricane season. Tropical storm Dorian passed directly over Barbados a few days ago and fortunately there was only minor damage reported. There were a few fallen trees, a collapsed wall, a damaged roof, a fallen utility pole and several homes lost electricity which was quickly restored. No damage was reported in Christ Church where we live.
My favorite story about “rain” is from Sandra’s cousin Beryl. Her family were the first people in their gap to get a television. Living on a tropical island, they would open their windows to catch some breeze which would allow others to watch television from outside through the windows. I have learned over the past 36 years married to Sandra that Bajans consider watching a movie or television an interactive experience. For instance they’ll blurt out “don go in dere” as warning to the actors in the movie that there is trouble behind the door. Beryl said they asked everyone to be quiet so they could enjoy the show several times. Finally, tired of the noise and commotion, one of the family members grabbed the garden hose and sprayed water over the roof of the house and on to the group of young boys*** from the neighborhood on the other side. Almost immediately someone shouted “Wait, it rainen’ “ then everyone ran along home! Why? Bajans don’t like to get wet!
*Sea ain got no back door – Once you get in trouble in the water, there is no way back
**Rain settin up – Rain clouds forming that look like a pending rain or storm
***It was mostly young boys as they would allow the young girls inside