The D-word

Drought. I’m talking about the fact it hasn’t rained yet. The riverbeds are dry. Lots of deer being killed in the hunt because they are being driven to small stagnant pools of water to drink. People look tired and hot from Dili to Baucau.

It’s time to get the corn growing, and other crops but people are not going to start until the rain clouds start gathering.

There are no big rain clouds in the sky. Even the really muggy humid pre-rain air has kind of dissipated. Now it’s rather dry and hot.

This is quite worrying, given that rice is in short supply in Timor. Rice growers basically only grow for their families’ consumption here, because the market price is too low. So the government has started buying up huge quantities of rice for the refugees and relief, creating temporary rice shortages in Dili.

I was just starting to think that Timorese farmers could benefit from this crisis, with the haywire prices of food. But not if it doesn’t start raining. Nobody will be trying to market surpluses if the clouds don’t start piling up in the mountains and watering the land.

Headed to the Mountain, one last time. The long way, through Viqueque and along the south coast. More in about a week!


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