The new governor for the East Region, Gregoire MVOZGO, was scheduled to visit Garoua Boulai today. People were asked to arrive at 2 p.m. (which means things would probably start at 3). I went with two professors from the Bible School and arrived at 1:45. (Their choice.)
45 minutes later the storm clouds were clearly massing in the sky. The wind picked up after a bit blowing dust everywhere.
So, imagine the sky and the impending storm - not a surprise since this is the rainy season.... Now imagine a fairly large permanent pavilion (roof with no walls) filled with plastic chairs (which were full of people, of course) and a temporary tent beside it similarly filled. Also imagine many students in uniform lining the street.
There was also a group of three men - one drumming, one with a flute-like thing that sounded to me like a bagpipe without the bag, so no base drone, and one with a megaphone. They would play for (and flatter) various people trying to get money.
So, the scene is set. The rains are obviously coming. What would you do??
People in the permanent pavilion moved toward the center (but not much as it was already full). Others crowded in at the edges. Many people scrunched down between the chairs - as did I between a chair, a pillar and some legs. The sun hat I'd brought worked well as a rain hat...
Rain came from several directions and hard for 45 minutes. I was snug as a bug in a rug but parts of me got wet anyway. I was next to two young girls who chatted with me a little.
After the hard rain tapered off the students went back to their waiting positions - after some played in the new temporary stream.
20 minutes later things began - sort of. Bureau chiefs were asked to go to the nearby sous-prefecture building to greet the governor; the rest of us waited some more.
I had had enough adventure after two hours but is was difficult to leave. I decided to start writing this as I sat and waited. 40 minutes later we were still waiting with occasional intermittent rain. I really couldn’t see anything but periodic glimpses.
Speeches et al lasted a long time. Hearing was difficult with the noise of a nearby generator, people talking, etc. The first couple of people faced the group under the pavilion (including the governor) and spoke well into the microphone. Then the man I assume was the governor stood and faced out away from those under the pavilion and toward the students. The microphone had to be moved to his spot; from that moment we heard nothing. Hey, planners, what would you do about that??
We professors finally left after 10-12 minutes of listening to the man we couldn’t here. Lots of others left before and with us. I finally got home at 6 p.m. Glad to be here!
|After the rain|
Politically I guess it was important for me to be present. Still, I would have been happier at home watching the rain from my porch. This was even more of an adventure than the regional bishop's “prise de contact” yesterday! I am glad it is over.