Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How to Make Rain

I am not as qualified on this as my children are. My children were making rain long before I was even aware that it was possible to make rain. Silly me, I thought rain was only caused by the climate and certain events out of the control of mere humans. Later, I would find out that even young children can cause a storm!! Yes,and can also stop a storm!

My four children grew up on the banks of the Chajura River in the southern most part of the state of Bolivar in Venezuela. Right in the middle of the Amazon jungle. We say they grew up 'on the banks' of the river, but really, they 'grew up IN the river'.

We used the river for our water supply, it was our bath tub, our laundry, our kitchen sink! Each child would carry buckets of water up to the house several times a day. Even the youngest was given her own small bucket as soon as she was walking. It was a small plastic bucket which originally had chocolate milk powder in it. A Taco bucket. She was very proud of her own bucket!

All of my children swam like fish. Under water, against the current, climbing up slippery muddy banks. Slithering over wet mossy rocks. Climbing trees in search of vines to use to swing out over the river and jump from. This was all fine by me, but, in truth, I never learned to do much more than a glorified doggy paddle. My children felt so sorry for me! Luckily, their father was just as adept in the water as they were. This worked out well for me as I spent many an afternoon in peace as the children entertained themselves in the river.

After a few years living in the jungle, an old lady came up to the house very irate! We had a severe storm the night before and had seen the river rise overnight to the highest level anyone alive had ever witnessed. So high, in fact, that a few of the houses closest to the river had actually flooded. This 'nosamo', old grandmother, had awoken in the night to find the water up to the level of her hammock!!! And it was my children's fault!

She came to warn me of the dire events which my children were causing! My sweet innocent, fun loving children were changing the weather patterns. They were causing it to rain! I had mistakenly assumed the Rain Forest was so named due to the inevitable fact that it rained several months out of the year. But it seems, my children were causing it to rain more often and much harder than normal.

I needed to make them stop! I was taken aback, how could I stop my children from making rain????

The old grand mother, having given me the warning, turned and left me standing in awe of the power and talent of my children! My children could make rain! I did not know how they managed to do this, but, did they?

A few hours later, four wet, tired children made their way up from the river path, each with a bucket of water, which they emptied into the water barrel beside the house. I asked them,

"Do you know that you made it rain and flood last night?"

They looked sheepishly from one another, and I knew that they DID know how to make rain! And they had done it on purpose!

"So... you know that you are making rain?"

Four small heads nodded in agreement. How could I admit to them that they were so much more advanced than I. They not only knew they had made rain, they knew I did not know beans about it!

I warned them!

"Nosamo came by and said I have to make you all stop causing the rain! She was flooded out of her house last night!"

Four faces looked at me in complete belief.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourselves? You have to stop this rain making business, it bothers the people!"

Four innocent pairs of eyes, looking up at me... aw, shucks! Forget my pride!

" exactly do you make rain?"

Four mouths opened excitedly to share the details! It seems all you have to do to cause rain is to horseplay on the river too much at the wrong places! If you play around too much, the river goddess gets angry! She will talk to the other spirits and will cause a lot of rain!

My children knew this from talking with the other children. But, the favorite rock to climb upon, the best place to play King of the Mountain, was in the wrong place in the river. My children had decided to play anyway. They wanted the indians to know that they were not afraid of any old river goddess!

They had been warned, but had chosen to continue...thus causing rain. Then they had decided that making rain was fun! It was exhilarating to make rain and have everyone know YOU had caused it!

"Besides," they said, "We can always make the rain stop!"

Once again feeling the fool, I had to ask,

"How do you stop the rain?"

Four smug smirks!

"By cutting the rain with a machete, of course!"

My son grabbed up the ever handy machete and began to slice through the air in a sideways motion. It seems that is how one makes the rain to stop. I had observed the Ye'kwanas doing this so often and had never realized what they were doing! I just thought it was a habit or something to do when bored. Swing a machete to pass the time while riding in a canoe, or working in the garden. I never knew it was to stop the rain.

But my children knew!

To this day, if it is raining hard, I find myself tempted to 'cut the rain'.

This is what happens when you spend too much time in another culture.

A Ye'kwana man cutting the rain to make it stop
in order to continue the soccer match!


Charles said...

This is such a great story. I am going to try it next time I picnic.

Liz said...

Very funny story Rita, but I'm sure you also know how to do it!!

Examples: wash the windows, hang your white laundry on the line outside, help your hubby to wash the car (the latter will do it!!)

I laughed so much with this story, I can imagine their faces!!! Also: yo tambiƩn nado estilo perrito y de casualidad!!! :D


Jungle Mom said...

liz, y como q soy pobre, lavar a mi chinchoro!!!

Jackie said...

OH...we had to teach you sooo much. Glad to hear that you finally learned. One time on deputation it was raining very hard and slowing us down on our trip. I told Brian we needed to "cut the rain." He didn't know what I was talking about either! So, of course I showed him. (Remember, in an emergency, you don't need a machete, your arm will do, IF you make the "sha sha sha" sound while cutting the rain.)

Liz said...

Rita, lavar el chinchorro!!!
SIIIII!!no hay cosa mas dificil de secar, por supuesto

The Merry Widow said...

liz-WAX said car...
jackie-I may send you to Georgia...they are having a drought, come to think of it, Florida needs rain too!


Bookworm4Life said...

Mother! Please...It's easy.. You had so much to! I love you!

I just don't see how you could memorize an entire political speech, but you couldn't do the ever-simple rain-maker.

It ain't hard!

Love You Mom!


Mountain Mama said...

Well now. We've had a lot of rain this winter. I guess I need to bo buy a machete.
It's so cute that your children knew what it was all about. But children do pick up on these things.
Thanks for sharing this. It made me smile.

Sarah Joy said...

That is hilarious! I need to get me a rain cutter out here!

Roxie said...

Delightful story Rita - now just tell me whose responsible for all this snow -- that's the person I'm hunting!

Liz said...

merry widow:
I NEVER participate in the waxing!! but I know that -for sure- it will rain cats and dogs after he does it!!


jennifer said...

Ok, too funny, maybe I need your kids for my garden!!!

Oh by the way, a couple of Caption Contest winners over at the Jungle Hut!

Always On Watch said...

Off topic....

Jungle Mom,
Are you interested in a radio interview on The Gathering Storm Radio Show? If so, contact me via email. My addy is at my web site.

We book well in advance. Right now, we have openings for May.

Joe Gringo said...

Great story

Book her....I'm listening!

Anonymous said...

When my wife was growing up in Africa, she ran into a lot of African beliefs about witchcraft and such. Sounded bizarre, but she assured me that because the local people believe in it, it can actually have an impact on them. I wish that were true here, I know a good many people that I'd put a hex on right off.

The Localmalcontent said...

That is one of the warmest, cutest stories I've read in years, Rita. Really.
Like you, I'm 'Who Knew?'

But we all oughtta send rain to Georgia and Alabama.

Webutante said...

Darling story, and welcome relief from politics.

Susan said...

Well, we sure could use some rain-cutters up here from about November through March! ;) They might get cold though, being used to the rain forest and all.

Pam said...

Cute story of my adorable innocent nieces and nephew! Well written!

Brenda said...

Very funny. . . I need to start telling some stories about my children. . .

Bob said...

This is a very sweet story. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

MightyMom said...

oooooo I love the rain....bring it on!