February 12

Dear Diary,
It rained a little today. The dry winter is coming to an end and it is nearly time for the small belg rains. We will be planting crops soon. The cows will have more grass to eat, too. Of course, malaria will come back as well, but not as much now as later in the summer.

When it rains, I go to the ensete—the false banana—plants in our garden and collect water from their leaves. There is not as much ensete as there used to be because of the drought, and because people are eating their ensete roots too soon, before the plant is old enough. The mother plant makes many new suckers, baby plants, if you are patient. But hungry people cannot always wait, I know.

When I collect water from the big leaves, I fold a leaf and tip it toward my bucket. All the water runs down then I empty the bucket into our rain barrels. Father says every drop counts. Sometimes, in the big kiremt rains, I get very wet catching water!

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