Brittani lives with a community in the northwestern part of South Africa. Here is her weather report:
Our country coordinator recently posted a blog about the weather where she stays. The Minnesotan in me LOVES to make small talk and/or whine about the weather so I thought I’d do the same and share a bit about the weather here on the edge of the Kalahari Desert.
To start off, let me just say that it was 130 degrees Farenheit (55 degrees Celsius) warmer here than it was in my hometown on Wednesday. The one gas (“petrol”) station that I’ve found that shows the temperature on their sign said it was 47 degrees Celsius (that’s 116.6 degrees Farenheit!!!!). The forecast says the highs this week are between 39 and 42 (102 and 108) degrees, with the lows around 20 or 22 (about 70). It was like this for most of December and is supposed to be like this for most of January and February. From what I’ve been told, it doesn’t really cool off until May. I’ve told people here that the temp rarely gets above 40 C back in Minnesota, and if it does it’s only for a day or two, not weeks straight. However, back home it’s quite humid, so I thought this dry heat wouldn’t be too big of a deal. But my Minnesota-trained body is still trying to figure out how to deal with desert heat, especially when very few people have air conditioning (we call it “air con” here).
It’s given me a whole new perspective on Minnesota winters. People who aren’t from the Midwest United States always remark how they don’t know how we handle our long, cold winters. But we just do it because it’s our home and there are so many things that outweigh the brutal winters. It’s the same with the summers here. I’m still trying to figure out what all makes it worth staying here, but just like back home, the people are a big plus. Upington people are tough and proud of their ability to withstand extreme temperatures for months at a time, just like Minnesotans.
This place has also given me a new perspective when I read Bible stories that take place in the desert. I think of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years, how they prayed for God to sustain them. And of Jesus, who went to the wilderness to pray and was tempted by the devil. Some scholars say this was in preparation for his mission. I try to keep both these stories in mind to think about what mission God is preparing me for here in this desert, and remember to ask God to sustain me in my faith in this context.
I read a book recently where the author talked about how the pain of climbing a mountain made the view more beautiful. I think it’s the same with this heat, and the cold back home. The discomfort makes you appreciate the place even more when you find the things that make it worth staying.