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It rarely rains in the United Arab Emirates and when this happens, it becomes an unusually short event. For many locals rain is enough reason for excitement. Once, I asked a student about his holidays in Germany and his immediate answer was: «Great, it rained almost everyday». No, he was not being sarcastic. Arabs in this corner of the world, absolutely love rain and grey, cloudy days.

2dry

The little rain that falls on this Middle Eastern country leaves a few small puddles that people jump over without difficulty. However, I remember once, on hopping over one and pulling a leg muscle.

The experience made me wonder why that little puddle had given me such a hard time when I used to jump over big water obstacles when I was in Colombia. Looking for an explanation, I remember the last time I made a high street jump was  in Barranquilla about three years ago.

Certainly, with the passage of time my jumping skills have gone rusty. I have thus lost this cherished urban ability Colombians are born with. Reflecting on the experience, I started to think that, with the amount of rain our country gets, Colombians are, by nature, very good at jumping puddles, arroyos (urban flash floods)  and the like.

We may not be Olympic jumpers, but at least, we are promising figures in such a noble sport as the long jump.It would be worth asking our great world champion Katherine Ibargüen, how often she had to jump over puddles and arroyos in Apartadó, her birthplace.

T NEW

Colombians start to jump at an early age and, in the past, they practiced jumping over puddles formed by burst pipes, so they would often jump their way to work and home.

Early training 10-bogota.lluvia

Indoor training was given by our moms when they cleaned the house and warned us: «I have just mopped the living room floor. Nobody steps in. YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE A LONG JUMP». We had no choice but to heed the warning and take the leap. Unfortunately,  this excellent home training exercise was lost when mothers had to go to college or/and get a job.

Jumping activity increases significantly when it starts to rain. Bogotá is arguably the city with most jumpers and a census would probably show this. However, I believe the champions must be in Barranquilla: with its numerous arroyos, this is the Colombian Caribbean city that boasts the world’s biggest outdoor jumping track that criss-crosses the town. You can easily find lots of  arroyos which are fit for super extreme jumps.

tttt bobaq

The clothes you have on play a key role in the successful execution of the jump. Colombians wearing trousers make the leap in a fairly comfortable manner. An Emirati, on the other hand, in his national dress (kandura), would have trouble overcoming the obstacle. His sandals would go flying and be washed away by the strong current and his jump would just be a little one. kanduras were made for the small puddles of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

NEW KAND

For the people of the Arabian Gulf, swift arroyos flowing in the city are  unusual. For Colombians, they are a common scene and jumping over them an everyday exercise.

It is quite true that many abilities- like jumping- are lost when you are abroad. On the other hand, you become fully aware of the hidden potential Colombians have to solve one of the many problems that rain poses.They especially surmount, with flying colors, the biggest obstacle of all, namely the adversity each day brings.

 

Marcelino Torrecilla N (matorrecc@gmail.com)

Versión en español

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Docente universitario en el area de la enseñanza de idiomas (Inglés y Español) y sus usos en contextos multiculturales. Contando historias de un Medio Oriente (ir)real. Residente en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos

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