October is the cruellest month

They warned me it was going to be miserable. They said to imagine uncomfortable heat and then multiply that by ten. They told me that my district was the worst. One volunteer who finished her service in Nchelenge District a few years ago said that it got so bad she’d take off all her clothes and lay on her concrete floor, the coolest place in her hut. She joked that if she were to die from the heat her village would find a big dead naked white woman spread-eagle on the floor and think that some bad juju was at work. It was funny. I laughed at the time.

I’m not laughing anymore. It’s the middle of October and I have become accustomed to performing all of my daily tasks drenched in sweat. Cooking? Sweat. Biking to town to buy groceries? Sweat. Meeting a fish farmer? Sweat. Sitting near the well waiting to draw water? Sweat. Reading in my hut? So much sweat.


This means that a cold shower at 5pm is the highlight of my day. This means that I have to spray myself with more water before I jump underneath my mosquito net at night. This means that every evening I lay in bed in my birthday suit, motionless, a sheen of sweat creeping over the backs of my thighs as I fantasize about ice, frigid mountain lakes, and commercials for light beer.

Hard to believe that I took this photo just a year ago -- a fall sunset in the Sierra Nevada

Hard to believe that I took this photo of a fall sunset in the Sierra Nevada just one year ago — to see more, click on the image to visit my alpine fishing and backpacking blog

To rub some salt in the wound, October is my favorite time of year back home. If I were in America I’d be backpacking in the Desolation Wilderness right now, tramping on the fall’s first dusting of snow, fly fishing for brown trout as big as your thigh. I’d be drinking pumpkin lattes and eating garlic-encrusted Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions. I’d be watching Cal play uninspired football, looking on as some team that isn’t the Mariners advances to the World Series. I’d be wearing a soft black cashmere sweater with Allen Edmonds wingtips with my favorite slim-leg tapered chinos.

I wouldn’t be floundering around naked in my own sweat like a beached whale at 11 o’clock at night.

I’m so over hot season.


5 thoughts on “October is the cruellest month

    • The coolest weather is May through July, but the prettiest season is November through February when everything is green and verdant. Everything is also wet though, since it’s rainy season.

  1. Oh Matt, that sounds like my vision of hell….I will do a rain dance for you! And yes, the weather is stunning here in Berkeley…sorry about that!

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