Some countries have snow, some hale, some have blocks of ice raining from the sky and for some bizarre reason we’ve had cases of fish falling from the heavens but here in West -Africa we have Harmattan. It’s intense dust and haze enveloped in cold dry weather. For people still in awe as to what it is let me defog that for you.
Harmattan happens as a result of wind blowing through the eastern part of the Sahara as a result picking up particles of sand and dust. As this builds up, it sucks moisture from the air as it blows through other parts of West-Africa exposing them to hotter temperatures, dry skin, nosebleeds, and breathing problems.
This weather condition does share some similarities with its icy overseas relative. It covers everything from cars to roofs even people in a blanket of dust. You can attempt to make dust angels but I strongly advise against it.
With that said, if you find yourself in Nigeria from December to February then you find yourself in luck. I’ve curated a list to help you through it and as for the inhabitants, there’s something in here for you too.
1. Hydrate… ALOT
Staying hydrated during this period is very essential and because of the dryness and heat that comes with the harmattan, you are like to feel constantly get thirsty. Plus, drinking more water prevents your lips from cracking. So, wherever you find yourself have water around.
In as much as the human body contains 60 percent of water, its needs to be replenished frequently.
2. Moisturize and chill.
This weather has the tendency to leave you looking like Ashy Larry. Forget all that you know about moisturizing altogether. When harmattan is in full swing not many lotions and creams can withstand its dusty wrath.
Preparing for harmattan, you need to understand that everywhere needs to be completely covered and I mean everywhere right from your hair follicles to your toes. I recommend Vaseline (the one with the blue cap) and other oil skin products and apply them with aggressiveness.
3. Don’t forget your lips
Like every other part of your body your lips need protection too. Before anything else your face is the first thing most people see and as it so happens your lips sit on your face why not add a chap-stick or a lip-balm to the list.
Steering from the comical side of things having chapped or dry lips is also a sign of dehydration which wouldn’t do you a world of good during harmattan. So, best be prepared because in the wise words of GOT’s protagonist in my head “Harmattan is here”
4. Dress for the occasion
Every season around globally has its dress code. Summer has you wearing less, spring has you feeling free as for winter, it has you scampering for warmth. As for harmattan, you have a weather condition suffering from multiple personality disorders.
You have a mixture of hot and cold with harmattan. You don’t sweat a lot because of the weather’s ability to suck up moisture so might make you want to dress more freely. I strongly advise against it because it is a trap.
If you are spending most of your time outdoors, maybe pack a sweat as it might get chilly but if you are indoors then bust out that coat because there’s no better time. This is like music to the ears of okada riders.
This is a fashion accessory I’m sure everyone has already and if you don’t then…you get coconut head.
A face-mask is the last item on the list and an essential item to help you get through this dusty season. Aside it pre-existing use being for protecting against COVID-19 it also protects you from the dust particles that come with harmattan.
For people with issues breathing, this and your inhaler then should go together in holy matrimony.