Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Bless the Rains...

I know the feeling of being in Canada and wondering how my friends in Africa are making out on their trip and so, I now have the perspective from the other side. Internet access is harder than I thought to attain and so I apologize for the length of time between postings at this point. It’s not as if there is a shortage of things to say or things we’re feeling...quite the contrary. When our friend, Kristal, spent a year away from us in Africa, I admittedly checked her blog daily (sometimes hourly) just wondering what she was up to and what was happening with the students she was working with. If you find yourself in this position, just a caution, you may be on your way to Africa...you just don’t know it yet. I found at times I was so invested (a.k.a. obsessed) that I grilled her when she would get online. Again, symptomatic of one who is on their way over here. Just FYI.
The weather since we’ve arrived, as I may have mentioned once or a thousand times, has been hot – well into the 30’s...a few days into the 40’s. Even the mild -21 degree weather in the midst of a Canadian February does not prepare you for the heat nor the humidity. It’s lovely to be hot. I just keep telling myself that. A few days last week, we experienced the rains down in Africa. Cue Toto. While the humidity builds, thoughts turn to a storm to blow through and clear the air. Most days it just threatens. Today, we woke to a bright and sunny, clear sky until an hour ago as Africa made good on her promises. Lightning and thunder coincide and chase each other’s heels so closely, you can hardly differentiate which is first and what follows. The storm slides in over the mountains behind us and settles itself in the valley above us. Tin roofs become waterfalls and I try not to think of my shelter as the electrical conduit that it is. Trees wave madly in circles divesting themselves of excess foliage and any unfortunate inhabitants. Our door blows open though latched so we lock ourselves in and bolt the glass pane windows against the wind. The power is on and we allow ourselves the comfort of our only extravagant purchase so far – two fans we purchased after sweating ourselves to sleep the first few nights. My family is here, all together, ready to welcome the respite that the storm gives us. Books are pulled out, games are played. My thoughts go to the communities across the valley. I can’t see the community of Masoyi as I can on a clear day but across the wind and rain, I know that there are children living alone where roofs don’t provide dry shelter and wind can ravage their homes. The small rivers of water flowing clearly through our “village” are clean compared to the ones flowing through theirs. Sewage, garbage, and all sorts of flotsam run wherever they please. I remember my worst camping experience in Shasta, CA. An island, an unrelenting rain for hours leading into a long, dark night with 70+ kids in wet sleeping bags standing under a smoke filled tarp with nothing more than a cook shack for shelter. Even then, we knew at worst, it would be three wet days. At best, a middle of the night phone call to Jason’s then assistant, Misty, who pulled off the best middle of the night Survivor style rescue ever. Boats loaded, kids ferried to waiting vehicles and a small town church opening its doors to a bunch of rain soaked refugees while leaders piled as many wet sleeping bags and pillows into a Laundromat dryer as could possibly fit. The boys and I bailed with our friends, Bruce and Robin, and I was never so happy to be in a warm vehicle heading home. I remember the relief and I wonder what hope these communities have of drying out before nightfall? Of a waiting warm shelter or the relief of rescue – someone to take their wet things and say, “You’re welcome with us, stay here and wait out the storm.” I may be in Africa but today, I’m safely in a comfortable room, family around me, waiting for the storm to pass. It’s a luxury most don’t have.

1 comment:

The Dumonceaux family said...

Shelly,
Another amazing post. It's incredible to us how your family can turn discomfort into empathy for those even more uncomfortable. Hope you made it through the storm alright. It's still pretty cold here, but warming up slowly. We think of your family often!