By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
At last, residents of Port Harcourt and Rivers State at large can now heave a sigh of relief that the scorching heat and hot weather that have made life uncomfortable for them since 2020 are now over.
This is because a heavy rain suddenly broke out on Thursday, disorganizing the residents and making them scamper for refuge in order not to be wet. While this report is being written, the rain is still falling and has succeeded in getting many people soaked.
At the ever-busy Ikwerre Road, Mile 1, Diobu, TPCN witnessed the drama that ensued as the rain swooped on the residents by surprise, with many of them, some of who are traders with goods, passengers alighting from taxes and buses, among others, caught unawares by the rain, running helter-skelter, looking for where to hide to avoid being wet.
At the famous Education Bus Stop, Mile 1, one middle-aged woman almost lost her items to the rain as she was running to take cover under the yellow-painted four-storey building adjacent to the Conoil Filling Station.
In the process of speeding away from the rain, her small nylon load tore and four plastic bottles of what looked like Kunu, a popular local drink in Nigeria and some fresh pepper, fell down and rolled on the ground.
Moved with pity, a good-spirited, dark-complexioned lanky man, dressed in a white shirt and black trousers, rushed out of his own hiding corner under the same building, defied the rain and picked two of the bottles for the woman, all in a speed of lightning. The woman, who thanked the man for his good gesture, also managed to rush back into the rain to pick up the remaining items.
At the Iloabuchi Park, Mile 1, the drama continued as the rain kept pouring in. Passengers, as soon as they alighted from the taxes, ran either to the nearby Conoil Filling Station or the adjacent Education Building for cover.
Given the speed of these passengers as they raced to take cover, some of them could beat America’s Ben Johnson could they be paired for an Olympic 100 metres Race.
In his haste to take cover, one pot-bellied fat man, dressed in a worn-out black suit, almost got hit by a rushing bus as he was running without caution, shoving everyone who mistakenly blocked his way. As he ran, his Makossa-dancing pot belly completed the drama, sending people into a rib-cracking laughter spree.
Although long expected, the rain, as usual, is generating mixed reactions from Port Harcourt residents.
For Nkechi, a computer operator at a cyber café in Mile 1, Diobu, the rain could not have come at a better time given the scorching heat that has raised a lot of concerns in many quarters.
She thanked God for sending the rain to cool the weather. Nkechi added: “Now we can sleep well, thank God. Since this year we have been expecting this rain and the heat keeps increasing and we don’t know what to do. My sister’s baby is even having heat rashes all over his body because of the heat. If not for this work I’m doing now, I would have gone out so that this rain can touch me and cool my body small.”
But James, a handset repairer, described the rain as a good thing happening at a wrong time.
He said: “I like the rain but it is spoiling my business. I stay on the other side of the road but as this rain started now, two people who wanted to repair their phones ran away. Me too ran away to this place to avoid the rain. It’s not that I don’t like the rain, but it should have fallen at night when we can use it to sleep. One thing is that it will reduce the heat this night and I’m happy about that.”
Meanwhile, some parts of Mile 1, Diobu, is now flooded as a result of the rain falling in Port Harcourt.