Filed Under (Malian culture) by Rob on 24-04-2010

…is quite a feat!

Here’s what it’s like: British friends, imagine the hottest, midday, heatwave temperature you’ve ever known in the UK. Are you there?! Good! Now I want you to imagine waking up at 5:00am to that very temperature BUT it then just gets progressively hotter throughout the day, not cooling down again until the late evening, if at all! THAT, my friends, is hot season in Mali!

Tips for surviving hot season include:

* Wear a hat outside and stay in the shade.
* Don’t go outside – just stay in the a/c if you have it!
* If you have no a/c, swamp-coolers are good, especially in the early hours.
* Drink 3-4 litres of WATER each day (coffee & tea don’t count).
* If you’re feeling rough, consider oral rehydration salts, to make sure your magnesium/sodium/potassium levels are not depleated through so much sweating.
*Definitely don’t attempt even the most menial exercise around midday. You will MELT!
* Sleep on a water bed if you can, or a hammock on the roof!
* When your water bed gets too hot (and it will), pour water on it. Leave to dry.
* If you’re still to hot to sleep, just soak a towel in water and put lie it on top of your body.

Last week, I charted the maximum and minimum temperatures on our front porch (in the shade) and – actually – we had a couple of reasonably ‘cool’ days for the time of year:

Finally, my boss recently sent out ten reasons why Hot Season can be a good thing! Happy reading:

1. Working late at the office takes on a whole new significance; free a/c.
2. The Malians finally agree with you when you say it is hot.
3. If you have problems deciding what shirt to wear, no problem! You’ll be wearing at least three today.
4. It’s a chance to practise your Fahrenheit-Celsius conversion with big numbers like 41 or 46C (106F or 114F).
5. For those of us who have no hot water heaters, we can finally take a hot shower!
6. It’s a great time of the year to do your swamp cooler maintenance.
7. Everyday household tasks become an extreme sport.
8. Clothes have that lovely “fresh out of the dryer” feel when you take them out of the wardrobe.
9. The oven is automatically “pre-heated” and – hey – most of your food is already pre-cooked!
10. A daily occasion to regale your facebook friends with complaints about how hot it is (when they are delighted that it’s finally over 15C back home!)

Hot season will continue until late May, at which point we will hopefully get some rain to cool things down. Not to worry – at least we don’t have the extreme humidity of Benin to contend with!

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