Pula means rain

When I first moved to Botswana, I read this book titled, “Pula means rain.” In Setswana, the word, “pula” actually has two meanings…money(currency) and rain. We use it for our currency here in Botswana, but it also means rain. The two meanings seem to be quite different, but this past weekend I found the common thread.

We haven’t had rain since mid-March, and now that its extremely hot, rain is what everyone is wishing for. If you didn’t already know, most of Botswana is a desert….70% to be exact. We have the largest percent of desert in all of Africa. That being said, not having rain affects us in a huge way.

This past weekend, we were blessed with our first rainfall on Saturday, and was it awesome! It was during this thunderstorm that I finally discovered the significance of the word “pula” and its dual meanings. In most societies, money is the root of all transactions and basically the economy. Here in Botswana, currency is not the only root for us…..we also depend on the rain, and since it does not come very often, we depend on it even more. If you live somewhere where rain is a commodity, you might not think twice about it, but here where its a rarity, its more precious than gold!

Pula….whether it be money or rain…either way, its precious and when it comes to you, it is appreciated even more! At least thats the case for me….let it rain!

About Maureen Hochdorf

Writer. Editor. High Techi. Non-Profit Founder. Traveler. Sports Lover. Star Wars Fanatic. Tel Aviver. Michigander.... View all posts by Maureen Hochdorf

One response to “Pula means rain

  • Hannelore Hühne

    I lived in South Africa for 17 years. I was in Botswana several times, in the Okovanga Delta. It was very beautiful! – Why I write: I do not know for what reason, just playing around, I just typed the words “Pula means rain” into the Google line, not knowing of the book at all. I have always thought of “pula” as silvery drops and I knew how precious rain is for you people. It was just a memory and a play….. isn’t it funny?
    I wish you lots of pula – meaning both, rain and money!
    Greetings from Germany.


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