Short Rains Season

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Short Rains

***** Location: Kenya
***** Season: Short Rains
***** Category: Season


The season of short rains is one of the four seasons of the year in Kenya. It takes place every year from mid-October to mid-December. The season is called “short rains” as opposed to “long rains”, not because of the amount of rain or the number of rainy hours each day, but because the season does not last as long as that of the long rains.

The season may have a lead-up period during which the occasional shower or drizzle falls. This is followed by the first rainfall, which is heavy, indeed usually torrential. A period of regular rain follows -- usually starting mid afternoon to early evening and continuing well into the night, rarely until the morning. There may be cloudy, or more often sunny, periods during daylight hours.

This again is followed by a period when the rains thin and peter out, until they are finally over by Christmas at the latest.

The short rains are the time to see Kenya at its best. Nairobi is bright with jacaranda and tipu tree blossom, as well as the occasional flamboyant tree at its most glorious. The temperature is pleasant, and the general atmosphere is optimistic and full of energy.

If the rainfall is too heavy, flooding results, with much damage and often, loss of life. If it is late, too light, or finishes early, drought results, with crop failures and hunger. Both these effects are currently exacerbated by the consequences of global warming.

The kigo associated with the short rains include the following :

(a) Those which are valid for both rainy seasons :

Mud (Swahili : matope)
stagnant water
Mosquitoes in Kenya
heavy clothing
Power failure, blackout

First rainfall, imminent rain
rain clouds
break between the rains
Flooding in 2006

(b) Those which are specific to the short rains :

AIDS, World AIDS Day
flamboyant tree blossom
Kenyatta Day
Jacaranda blossom
Moi Day
New Year
tipu tree blossom
School exams KCSE / KCPE

Text and photo : Isabelle Prondzynski


Kenyan geranium in the rain

Photo : Isabelle Prondzynski


in its December 2006 edition, published a beautiful haiga collection from the Nairobi haiku clubs :

Isabelle Prondzynski and Students of the Kenya Haiku Clubs

Read the haiku here :


Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Here is a taster of the Short Rains haiku from the Nairobi haiku clubs. More can be found in the relevant kigo pages (follow the links above), as well as here :

Short Rains, a Haiku Season in Kenyaxx


people wearing
heavy jackets --
short rains

~ Danson Mwangi (Bamboochas)

dark rain clouds
hanging below the sky --
people buy umbrellas

~ Paul Brown (Bamboochas)

a student bends at
muddy stagnant water,
cleaning her shoes

~ Cyprian Awino (Bamboochas)

people striding to work
with umbrellas under armpits --
the short rain

~ Danson Oduory (Bamboochas)

wet clothes taking too long
on the hanging line --
the short rains

~ Catherine Njeri Maina (Bamboochas)

trees are swaying
birds and frogs migrating --
a sign of rain

~ Adisa (Falcons)

children in gumboots
jumping in the mud --
ouch! the legs stuck

~ Keago (Falcons)

clouds hang low
turn from grey to black
a heavy downpour

~ Leonard (Falcons)

the street --
dominated and coloured by
numerous umbrellas

Caleb David Mutua (Peacocks)


early morning --
files of students and employees
jump puddle after puddle

~ Patrick Wafula (Patron, Bamboochas)

work pending
as black out rages --
dark office

~ Adelaide Luvandale (Patron, Peacocks)


. First short rains - October 2010  
Patrick Wafula

Related words

***** Many specific short rains kigo can be reached by following the hyperlinks above in the kigo list.


1 comment:

Isabelle said...

Commenting on the Kenya haiku clubs' contribution to haigaonline :



This is fascinating and remarkable. I enjoyed everyone and every one.

This is such a worthy project and I had no idea. Congratulations and kudos to all involved and you for publicising it... I would love to see more of it.


Thank you, Kirsty! We are pleased and honoured by your comments.