Sun, Rain, Weather, Water – and a Little Lightness of Being

In many European countries for some time now sun is being considered to be a feature, even rather special or valuable. Sunny days are called ‘good weather’, rainy or cloudy days are ‘bad weather’. And some people think it necessary to even brag about the fact that they have the means and opportunity to travel into (more) sunny regions than the ones they live in.

In other parts of the world, the sun is a very dubious luxury. You need so much water or liquids to drink in order to stay healthy. Not even the recommended 1,5 l per day are available there. People would perhaps like to make themselves a tea or coffee. Or have a nice soup for a cold. Apart from cooking other kinds of food! Or keeping clean – clothes, the house – themselves!

The sun in those parts can be damnable or at least unwelcome.

The movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ has a number of very graphic scenes shot in the desert, with appropriate soundtrack, that make abundantly clear, what it can mean to be victim to a grim climate involving a lot of sun.

Although the desert has always had a fascination for many Europeans, partly because it is so different, next time the weather turns bad over here, think again, perhaps. I remember a visitor of ours, who came from the Near East ‘only’, with enough water for everyday use, vividly, to this day, over 25 years ago, when she visited Germany for the first time. Driving with us through half of it, you might say, from Frankfurt/Main to the South of Germany, she was amazed at how green everything was! Over and over she repeated, ‘look at this countryside, so much green, so many trees, so many pastures – incredible!’

So, next time in these parts, before you complain about the weather turning ‘bad’ – perhaps you could instead think of what it would be like if you came from some part in the world where water is scarce, like the big deserts in Africa (I yet have to see personally). Where you often have not enough water even to wash yourself, much less, to cook – or just drink whatever you like, as much as you like, anytime. And you may come to appreciate tap water again: it’s the best controlled water in the middle of Europe and can be drunk from the tap without any further ado…