by Rebecca and Jay Wozny, Saare Oumar, Senegal
When the first rains of the rainy season begin, the children run, dance, and sing. Since the land has been parched for about six months, they celebrate the return of moisture and fertility. After the rains have filled the rice fields, the children splash and play in the knee-deep water.
by Catherine Guillard, Samba Diarry, Senegal
Because water is so scarce in our region of Senegal, there are no organized water sports. Still, water is the cause of much rejoicing. When the first rains come in June or July, it is not unusual to see children running and laughing through the most violent storms, thrilled at the cool relief the water brings after the scorching heat of May. As the rainy season continues, puddles and ponds form. The younger women and children will "go swimming," once the puddles are deep enough to splash around in. Then, children's games begin, such as "Who can splash and annoy the most people?" "Who can hold their breath the longest?" and "Who can take the longest slide across wet grass and land in the pond?"
by Enid Abrahami, Missirah Tabadian, Senegal
One day I went with my younger host sister, Gundo, to wash our clothes by the well. We had filled up three buckets of water (the normal amount for one load of laundry) and were scrubbing and soaping away. The sun was sweltering hot. It must have been over 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Suddenly, I became restless and playful. I felt like starting a water fight, something I always loved to do as a kid, so I threw some water at Gundo, giggling. She waved her hands in defense and told me to stop. At first, I thought she was just playing along with me. But then I noticed that her voice was urgent and serious. It was then that I realized the mistake I had made. I had wasted water.
by Jamie Schehl, Sokone, Senegal
The children enjoy swimming in the delta near our village. During the rainy season, they are often seen splashing around in the rain.