Threatening cloud formations cover the horizon from one second to the next. The skyline turns from indigo blue to an alien shade of cobalt.
Quivers of wind shatter the stillness over the dehydrated plain. The wind escalates and howls around the powdered dust. It is as if the murky air is shuddering in tremors, then abruptly static; indecisive of it’s next move.
The giant drops splatter over the windshield, turning it into a horizontal waterfall. A sharp knife with serrated edges, two flashes of lightning strike the earth. The sky turns black, the thorn bushes shudder in their rooted prisons, while the free-wheeling balls of tumbleweed twirl over the seemingly endless plain.
Hakim opens the window and holds his hand out to feel the gust. He is overjoyed.
“Rain!” he exclaims.
“Such a blessing!”
* * * *
Far on the other side of the plain, Hakim points to four small figures.
“There are children over there; they need help,” he exclaims, and with a sharp jolt accelerates the gas pedal.
His eyesight is extraordinary…
Soon I can also see them clearly; two young boys, a girl and a donkey. The boys are possibly eight or nine years old, the girl; not older than three.
Soaked, shaking and bawling, they huddle desperately together under a decayed tree. Their wretched brown donkey quivers in fright. One of the boys clutches onto the donkey’s rope with both hands; his tears melting together with the blinding rain.
I want to help, but at the same time, also want to photograph these precise images I’ve been waiting for. Snatching my camera bag from under my seat, I find each lens and my Nikon, wrapped in plastic bags for protection against the dust and sand in my double zippered rucksack.
But I’ve been caught unprepared. Each move seems to take minutes and each one of my four lenses is fogged by the sudden humidity. I carefully wipe the 35 millimetre with lens tissues, but the moisture has also found its way to the back side of the lens, which is forbidden to touch.
Damn it! The precise moment was here; I didn’t catch it.
“God damn it!”