Sunday, September 26, 2010

bienvenidos mateo...because what else are you gonna do?

as a kansas girl, i've always loved storms. i have tons of fond memories involving the time my dad ran into the garage wall in our minivan because he was rushing to get us home in a tornado. or the gorgeous purple and blue light show i watched with my grandparents at the sedgewick county park, a night storm slowly unfolding. and then there was the time our basement flooded and my beloved aunt robin, at that time a college student, helped us move around our play things and haul 3 inches of water out of the basement. and i can't forget the time we all had to huddle under the mesh play crib to protect ourselves from any incoming glass as the wind whipped around the house. (that was also the year i got brave enough to explore further in the storage room where we hid and found all the Christmas presents. i still remember the horror i felt "i am SO on the naughty list right now!!!")

there was this thrill of something exciting, something unpredictable, something out of the routine. and a little scary, but i never doubted my parents ability to take care of me(obviously this was before my realization that man, before nature, has little control).

but now, here in nicaragua, storms are a bit...different. i have seen water just rise and rise and rise until it becomes a whirlpool in what used to be our cafeteria. i've seen it grow our lake like something out of a horror movie, taking down houses as it goes. it's taken lives, destroyed homes, ruined electrical systems, and basically wreaked havoc. it hasn't been until Nicaragua that i've felt truly fearful.whereas the rainfall used to help me sleep, it now keeps me awake.

like a night this week. the lightening was overwhelming, ripping the sky open and immediately crashing it back together again. the following school day was punctuated by screams as the children jumped with every lightening bolt, the power fleeing and the water slowly rising. every teacher kept their eye on it, willing it to pass as quickly as it could. and all this was before Matthew.

The good news, in all of this, is that it's been pretty calm for us. (I live in the orange strip,close to the edge of the red strip...the tiny lake you see there is Lake Managua, the house-eating one.)

Just constant rain and cool temperatures (sweater and sock weather if you can believe it). Luckily we are pretty high up in El Crucero and on steady ground. but the residents on the northern and atlantic coast part of the country are in danger. and the poverty in those areas is unreal. plastic and stick houses, very high unemployment, survival depending on crops...that are now being flooded. it's hard to feel that long-ago pleasure for something i now find so destructive. i'm sure survivors of Katrina and other natural disasters know what i'm talking about.

it just makes me wonder. when faced with one small element in a huge universe of unknowns like storms, why do we think we have so much control? isn't more logical that we don't? that we need someone to take care of us? that we need a little guidance? just wondering.

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