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Damn Brazilians, at it again. Not satisfied with unceremoniously and controversially knocking Colombia out of this year’s Fifa World Cup — aided by a Spanish referee it must be said — now they’re ensuring their north-western neighbours endure a dreary and dull December.

Pilón de Azúcar, Cabo de la Vela, La Guajira, Colombia

While there may be no shortage of water falling from the sky in Bogotá, some other places in Colombia struggle to get access to this essential resource. (Photo is of Pilón de Azúcar, near Cabo de la Vela in Colombia’s La Guajira department.)

You see, the November rains that habitually inundate Colombia have been continuing well into this month. The source of these daily prolonged downpours? Why none other than Brazil, so the meteorologists tell us.

What more pain is the ‘big bully’ neighbour to the south-east going to inflict on ‘us’ before the year is out?

OK, I have to admit that from a personal point of view, in one sense, these rains are kind of nice; watching them under the safety of cover that is. Dry, warm weather for the Christmas season is still something that doesn’t fit right with me. Hence it feels a little more ‘correct’, the grey days with some freshness – or cold as most locals feel it – about. (Do note, a typical Irish Christmas tends to be grey rather than white, weather wise.)

Who knows, but we may even get a white Bogotá Christmas if the current conditions keep up. All we need is a hailstone deluge like we had a few weeks back to see to that.

All that aside and on a more sombre note, with all this extra water swashing about the place, it does make you wonder how there could be people dying because of a lack of it, and other associated life essentials, in this country. However, dying they are.

Of course it’s not a uniquely Colombian contrast this, it happens in other regions. Where it occurs, there are usually geographical, climatic and political issues at play. There is also the issue of a serious lack of public will to deal with it.

That comes down to the fact that death from a shortage of food and water is a slow process. It tends not to rouse the emotions in fellow human beings as much as dramatic natural or human disasters such as earthquakes or terrorist attacks.

A downpour in downtown Bogotá ...

Another Bogotá December downpour …

Also, in developing and under-developed countries, there is the question of management – or lack thereof. Very often the means and resources are there to deal with the problem, but the structures needed are not.

You just need to look at Bogotá for an example of this. When the heavens do open here, the insufficiency of an adequate drainage system is glaring. For a city that regularly experiences severe downpours, this seems negligent. It’s like each time it happens it comes as a surprise.

One mitigating factor, but again this highlights poor management and practices, is the rubbish problem in the city. Many drains are clogged because of this and thus rendered useless.

Indeed, it’s not only in Colombia’s more peripheral regions where a shortage of water can be a problem. With regular water service cuts in various barrios in the capital, you often have the scenario of ‘water, water everywhere, but none to drink.’

We can’t really blame the Brazilians for those latter issues. On the football field, though, there is always the chance of revenge at the 2015 Copa América. The weather might be better then too.
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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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  1. For the promotion of a colombian movie called “Lessons for a kiss: A comedy for Men about Women” there was a tagline that said: The weather of bogota is like the women´s mood: sun, rain, sun, storm. Your blog entry reminded me that quote.

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