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Script 75.5

Notes to broadcasters

In this day and age, much of the world depends on technology such as satellites to read the weather, and provide warning for people to act on time. However, in places where such technological advances are rare, people depend on traditional knowledge handed down through generations to help them monitor the changes in their world. Some call these traditional early warning signs or ‘old wives tales’ and rush to discredit them. But farmers in arid regions have ways of reading signs in their environment that predict weather patterns. These signs have helped them make decisions that ensure their own food security and survival.

You may wish to find out about the traditional indicators for weather and climatic changes which are used in your region as early warning for impending low rainfall and drought. You can share these with your listeners in creative formats to benefit your audience. The following radio drama shares information about traditional ways of forecasting drought.

Script

BRING UP THEME MUSIC AND CROSS FADE INTO EFFECTS.

EARLY MORNING VILLAGE NOISES. CRACKLE OF FIRE BURNING. DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES.

Binta:
(Coming on mic shivering.) Ah! Asabe it’s so cold outside Didn’t they say this harmattan would end about three weeks ago?

Asabe:
What’s your problem with the harmattan Binta? Do you prefer the hot weather?

Binta:
Why do you say this, when all you do is sit by the fire. Fool!

Asabe:
Don’t abuse me, you hear Binta! Take your bad temper somewhere else. It’s too early.

Binta:
Sometimes you surprise me. It’s like you are in a world of your own and deaf to what people are saying.

Asabe:
Eh? What are people saying?

Binta:
Can’t you see all the signs? The extension of the harmattan means that even if it rains, the rains will be short. Asabe we might be heading for a drought.

Asabe:
Hey! Prophetess of doom. So you are now a weather witch!

Binta:
I don’t have to be a witch. All the signs are there.

KNOCK ON DOOR.

Binta:
Who is knocking? Asabe did you lock the door?

KEY TURNING AND DOOR OPENS.

Asabe/Binta:
Baba welcome.

Baba:
Why did you girls lock the door?

Binta:
Baba it wasn’t me, it was Asabe.

Asabe:
I didn’t go near the door.

Baba:
I heard your voices miles away. Can’t the two of you live in peace? Any visitor entering this village will never know that you are sisters from the same parents.

Asabe:
I don’t know what is wrong with Binta. She quarrels with everybody and this morning it is the harmattan. This morning this foolish sister of mine told me that the long harmattan season means trouble

Binta:
Baba, you hear her? She is abusing me!

Baba:
Asabe there’s no need for that. Apologize to your sister.

Asabe:
(Reluctantly) Okay Binta, I’m sorry. But Baba, are we not heading for a drought? I was telling my sister that when the harmattan refuses to go and make way for the hot season, there would be drought.

Binta:
Baba is it true?

Baba:
Well, yes. That is one of the ways to predict poor rainfall for the year.

Binta:
Baba which other signs do we have?

Baba:
Well if you girls have observed carefully, you will notice that all the birds have disappeared.

Asabe:
That is very true. I haven’t heard them chirping by my window.

Baba:
You see the animals and the birds have a nose for water and they always migrate to where they can find water.

Asabe:
Baba, are we going to migrate too?

Baba:
No it won’t get to that, we have got enough early warnings signs and I am sure that all the farmers will soon get together to work out the solution to save lives and livestock. (Pause) Oh! You girls have a part to play too.

Binta/Asabe:
What do you want us to do Baba?

Baba:
Go easy on the grain. Promise me that during this period there will be no wastage.

Binta/Asabe:
We promise Baba.

Announcer:
Baba talked with Asabe and Binta about two signs of drought – a long harmattan season and the disappearance of the birds. How about your own area? What are the early signs for drought or low rainfall? Write or call us. We would like to share your experience.

HOLD CLOSING MUSIC FOR THREE SECONDS AND FADE.

– END –

Acknowledgements

  • Contributed by the African Radio Drama Association (ARDA), Plot 211, Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Email: info@ardabroadcasting.org
  • Reviewed by Professor Helen Hambly Odame, Rural Extension Studies, University of Guelph