The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

Dry Weather Stories

It is not unusual around my house to get news making phone calls. I cannot remember what year it was, but I was busy taking some water from a cistern in a pail by gravity to water my plants. One of my children ran down where I was busy and said: “Daddy, Mammie says to come quick, the Queen is on the phone.” “The Queen,” I said! Well better go see who it is. “Which Queen,” I called out on my way up to the house? My wife asked:”How many Queens do you know?” Picked up the phone and indeed it was the office of Her Majesty. Not the lady in person, mind you, but her office. They were calling to make plans for a visit she was going to make to the islands and needed some input from me as to who they could put on the committee. Two days later some Dutch people who were staying in the apartment, came and informed me that they were out of water. It was then that I remembered “The Queens” call and realized that in the midst of dryweather I had let a whole cistern of water run away. I was handicapped that I could not blame the government either as I was the Government so I had to nurse my wounds quietly and back then there was no Internet much less Facebook.Should I have blamed the Queen?
The months from December down to April and sometimes going down to August can be dry to extremely dry here on Saba. When in government I was extremely worried when dry weather would set in knowing that there would be a class of people who would blame the government. I became like the prophet Samuel who prayed for drought relief and sent his servant up in the mountain to see if there was anything on the horizon. The servant came back with the news that there was a little cloud in the distance no bigger than his fist. So Samuel kept praying and each time the servant was sent up the mountain as a weather observer to report back. Finally the rains came and there was relief.Now I am not a Bible expert though most politicians seem to be experts in that field, so if it was not Samuel feel free to correct me.
I remember hearing a story about my grandfather James Horton Simmons. No, not the one when his cow went over the cliff on Hell’s Gate. He said that if Agnes (his wife) had gone over the cliff he could get another wife, but where was he to get another cow? No, this one is about the time in a heavy dry weather he went down to the Spring Bay to bring up a tub of water and found that the spring was dry. Now Horton had a voice that carried for miles. Willie Johnson told me once that when Horton was cleaning someone’s yard in Windwardside and you were up in the Mountain planting you thought there was a riot or something going on with the amount of noise. Turns out it would only be Horton talking to himself while working. The spring had not gone dry. A landcrab had ended up in the intake and blocked the water flow. People in Hell’s Gate thinking something had happened to Horton ran down to Spring Bay. Horton was crying because he worried that the whole of Saba was going to die. In those days not everyone could afford a cistern. Those cisterns next to the church on Hell’s Gate belong to the Government. They were built to help the people there in times of drought. Saba has more water storage capacity now than ever. Here in The Level some people have cisterns of up to forty five thousand gallons.
The truth of the matter is that water is being used more than ever now on Saba. The Government has done their part, giving licenses to private persons to start water plants, restoring the watercatchments up in the hill, building large cisterns under the Government Administration building, the Hospital and so on. Also one of the last projects I did before leaving office was to build another reservoir at the Fort Bay. This drought is affecting the entire Caribbean. But rain will come as surely as death follows life and life comes after death in reincarnation if you wish or in the birth of a new child. So don’t despair, hope is near and yes news is that the government did not start the dry weather. My God, what a thing!! I say to myself what type of idiotic statement is that. Better you shut up and be considered stupid than to write on Facebook and let people know that you are stupid. No one worries more about a drought than conscientious people in Government. We have young, educated people in government. Be thankful for that and don’t wear them down with stupid criticism. CIAO.

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