I mentioned in a previous post that we’ve been having overcast weather recently, which is so not a normal thing for Haiti, at least not in these parts. Anyway, it’s kept up and yesterday afternoon we looked up and were basically expecting rain at some point. I should mention that the fact that we’ve had overcast weather and rain several times in the past couple of weeks is also not normal for this time of the year. If we do get rain it’s usually once, then nothing for a month or so, until the rainy season starts in either May or June.
So yesterday… the workers all headed home at 2:30 as usual and Chris and I were doing puttery type things. Yonese left at 4 and told me to make sure that we hung the bananas she brought in from the garden before the rain came. About an hour later it started and Chris asked me if I wanted to go for a walk in the yard with him. This is something he likes to do when we get a nice rain. We grabbed umbrellas and wandered around in our bare feet. It was beautiful and sweet.
We ate dinner. The rain kept falling. Then it fell harder. Jabez kept trying to sneak in the house. I gave Liv a bath. We kept looking outside like we always do when we get a good rain because things tend to get exciting. I mean, water starts coming from everywhere and flowing through the yard towards the ocean. I was feeding Olivia when Chris went for another “walk about” to check things out. I kept looking out on the deck. The yard, with the exception of a few high points, was TOTALLY under moving water. Like I said, we’re used to seeing water flow through the yard when we get a good rain, but neither of us had ever seen this much water go through the yard. It was kind of creepy and exciting all at the same time.
Chris came back inside and not long after the power went out. Now, when you live in a country where you rely on your own power system you start to worry when everything goes black because you know there’s a potentially big problem somewhere and that the power company isn’t going to come to your rescue. You are the power company.
When the lights go out in Haiti, in the middle of a rain storm, it’s BLACK. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Thankfully I’m one of those people that has great spacial comprehension and I was able to wander through the house, in the dark with baby in tow, and find candles, then get myself to the kitchen and light them – all without crashing into anything, mainly a concrete wall. Chris went out to investigate and realized that we had a short in our power lines coming into the house – somewhere underground. All of the water was causing the short and when Chris would turn the breaker back on it would flip off again. It was still raining and there was nothing that Chris could do to fix it last night so he turned the power off, I lit candles in all the important parts of the house and we hunkered down for the night. It was actually kind of fun, like a comfy version of camping – I slept in my own bed, had running water and a flushing toilet, but got to read by flashlight and fall asleep to the rain still falling. It was the darkest night I have ever experienced here.
This morning has been a hub of activity, though not what was planned for today or this week. There is a trench dug in the yard where the wires run so we can replace the old, thin, shorting out wire with new, thicker, working stuff. Chris and Jean jerry rigged an extension chord to run power to the house (apparently this is done all the time). The guys spent a good hour shoveling about an inch and a half of mud off the cement pad in the work yard where they build the filters. Jean spent about an hour pumping water out of the foundation trenches for the dorm building and still wasn’t able to get it all because it would just keep seeping up again. All of the gravel in the driveway area is under mud and there are mud lines on the truck tires about 4-5 inches up. I went to survey the beach and the reality is that we don’t have much of one left. Because we’re the lowest point before the water all of the water and mud from the neighbors flows down through our yard and the canals that have been built around us. There was so much water coming down right at our beach gate that it eroded about a foot and a half of sand and left a rocky trench. There are three more of these in the length of our frontage. Crazy!
I’ve been trying to post pictures but they don’t want to upload. I’ll keep trying and hopefully get something up for you to see.