(This was written yesterday but I wasn’t able to post it last night because the internet was done. It hasn’t rained for over 24 hours and things seem quiet now…)
It flooded in Cayes today. I was still in bed at 9am this morning but I wasn’t asleep. I had just decided I wasn’t ready to get up yet. It had rained during the night some but not like this: around 9am the downpour started. And it rained. And rained. And rained.
I love a good rain storm but this was the kind of rain that makes you feel restless. Something about it just didn’t feel right. The rain pounded on the tin, it streamed off the edges of the roof onto the ground below; in some places it collected in buckets, in other places is rushed like mad river from the pavement to the yard. The thunder boomed, the lightning crackled, and the wind blew. The internet went down before noon. By lunch time there were reports of flooding in the valley, lakes where cows usually graze and crops usually yield their harvests, and houses where water had dared to enter. There were yards full of several feet of water. Unpaved roads were corroding and flooded, as large pot holes appeared and mud thickened as the rain continued to fall. windows had to be closed as a spray of water was being forced inside by the wind. A new leak sprung up in my closet. I already have a mildewy ceiling with a permanent bulge in the right corner; a reminder of the great rain storm and subsequent flood that happened right after I arrived in Haiti. After only 4 or 5 hours of rain, the flooding resembled what it looked like in May after a day or two of rain. The rain finally subsided around 3. It promptly resumed around 3:30. It rained until 5pm. It drizzled until 7pm.
The man who works in our garden raises pigs. He was forced to bring the small pigs inside his house to save them. One of the mechanics who works for RMI asked to borrow a flash light so that he could enter his house and see what he could find. When he came to our house to get the flashlight, the water line on his shorts could be seen midway up his thigh. “It is higher than that now”, he said. Another staff member borrowed a cot for someone in his house who was sleeping on a mat on the floor.
People scrambled to rescue their belongings and to make arrangements for alternative places to sleep. I couldn’t help but ache for the people staying in Gabion. The tent city is set in a soccer field in a very low lying area. I looked at the area around my house and could only imagine what Gabion looked like. I later found out the field is unlivable but a church opened its doors and they have spend the day (and the night) in doors. Although some of them are afraid of sleeping inside the church because of the fear that things will still fall. I cried for them as I prayed for their safety and warmth. After all they just been through, after all they had just seen, after all they had just lost. This? It just didn’t seem right or fair.
My friend, Lisa, was supposed to be flying into today with a pilot making relief supply drop. She is going to be staying with me for a few days. Internet has been out and after a 9:30am report that she would arrive in Cayes between 2:30 and 3pm I have been able to find no other information. I assume they were turned back at some point. I am hopeful that she will be here tomorrow.
There was a group that was to stay at the Guest House tonight. They were driving from Port. In Port, from what we heard, there was no rain. The storm front sat further south. But on this side of Port, roads were flooded and impassible. The group was originally going to arrive shortly after lunch time. They arrived around 8. Information on whether they were going to be able to come or not, change at least 10 times. At one point, they had considered sleeping on the bus. but they eventually made it after probably 10 hours of travel. It is usually a 3 1/2 to 4 hour trip. As part of their caravan, a truck followed the bus with their luggage and 4 other team members. Since they were a good bit further behind we had offered to let them stay at our retreat at Zanglais. Zanglais was just before the trouble spot in the road. When they arrived, the gate was blocked by fallen gravel and debris. Along with the Zanglais security staff and another missionary who happened to be staying out at Zanglais already, they dug by hand.
Around 9:30pm, Joan called me. She and I had been working together to coordinate getting this team to the best place possible. They were hosting the team but the team was staying at our Guest House and it was her husband who was driving the truck with the luggage and 4 other people. When I answered the call, instead of a greeting she laughed. Apparently after some digging, they saw an excavator truck and some other of the same type which indicated that they were on route to clear the path. So the group decided to head on and follow the trucks. She asked me how flexible I was. I laughed and said, very. The 4 coming in with her husband would need a place to sleep. They were to have gone up to Bonnefin today and would have slept there. Could they stay at the Guest House? Their Guest House was full.
Sure. No problem. We had already discussed the possibility earlier and we had the space. She said they might not arrive until midnight. She had no way of knowing. I actually received a call before 10:30pm that they were almost here. When I drove over the meet them at the Guest House it was pitch black. There had been a power outage and the inverter hadn’t kicked on. I called Gary and he came to the rescue and in 10 minutes there was power. Lets just hope it stays on all night. He showed one of the ladies how to turn on the generator should the inverter run out of power. I hope that doesn’t happen because one of the ladies who works in the kitchen and her husband and their 4 kids are sleeping in the apartment beside the depot that houses the generator and the sound of the generator resembles a helicopter if your too close. The apartment could be considered “too close”. Their house had been one of the ones which had flooded.
I got home around 11:30pm.
Its been another one of “those” days…I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Its now 11:59pm. Its quiet. The only sounds I hear are the crow of a rooster, crickets singing their nightly tune, and the occasional drop of water falling from a leaf in the yard.