By Layne Anderson - Peace Corps Volunteer, Cameroon (2013 - 2015)
When the first beads of raindrops splash to the ground,
and wells full of water are thankfully found;
the trees all around us awaken from sleep,
their precious green jewels ready to reap.
Children emerge from their homes at first light,
their bright eyes cast upward to gaze at the sight;
bare feet run quickly and arms stretch up high,
to catch those sweet mangos that fall from the sky.
Hard work is halted and school then delayed,
to enjoy this great blessing for which we have prayed;
and after the harsh heat of dry season passes,
we toast to the mangos and raise up our glasses.
Mammas with babies strapped to their backs,
papas with strong heads balancing sacks;
old men and women with warm toothless smiles,
everyone dressed in their African styles.
We feast on this fruit brought forth from the earth,
treasured to all and priceless in worth;
and when the world deals us our difficult days,
we find our best joys in the smallest of ways.
So here’s to the rain that allows plants to grow,
and here’s to the mangos that rain will bestow;
here’s to the people who laugh with delight,
when tasting life’s richness in every last bite.
This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.