Friday, June 4, 2010

I love rainy season

When it rains in Haiti, Haitians freak out and so do I. Of course, my freaking out looks a little different from theirs. I get all excited and grab my potted plants, dash outside in the downpour and put them on the stoop where they can get a good dousing. By the time I've moved all 6 plants outside, I am drenched but happy. After 4 months of gray dust-covered plants, it's nice to finally have green plants again.

"Wait!" you're thinking. "In her last rain post, she said that her house flooded when it rains. So shouldn't she be doing a flood freak-out, not a plant freak-out?"

Good question.

When the rain finally stopped on that fantastic night last month, I took my sopping self across the street to talk to the St Joe's folks. We tossed around a few different solutions and eventually came up with the only feasible one. Bill had the mason build a 12 inch high barrier in my porch doorway so the water couldn't get in. It's hideous, it's annoying and I've tripped over it more than once, but at least it keeps my house dry. In the below photo, you can see Frantz and Jerry standing on my stumbling block to watch the demolition.

Since I don't have to concern myself with floods now, I can relax and enjoy the coolness and the spectacle of Haitians bathing under drainage pipes, River Shoebox (the whitewater stream that flows past my door), and young neighbors in firefighter's gear.

Haitians are scared of rain. They are convinced that they will get sick and die if they get wet. "But you bathe in cold water every day of the year," I protest. No, they tell me. Rain water is different.

On Wednesday, I was supposed to leave the Shoebox at 3pm to go to the Ravine. It started downpouring at 2:57. When it slowed a bit, I called Wesnal, my community health worker, concerned that with the bad weather, all our patients would be hiding and would not come out to be seen. "Oh no, Keziah. It's not raining here," he assured me. "We'll find patients, don't you worry!" So I went.

By the time I got there, it was raining. My friend Scott, Wesnal, and I went out anyways and were soaked within 5 minutes. We didn't even make it as far as the river crossing before Scott's crocs had betrayed him and he'd fallen flat on his back, to the great amusement of the few Haitians who were outside. And at the river, the water was so high that my stepping stones were covered. We had to take our shoes off and ford the river. I just love the feel of trash under the muddy water!

Long story short, I was right. Thanks to the weather, we saw virtually no patients. Ironically, Scott and I were enjoying ourselves immensely, but Wesnal, the one who had insisted that we go despite the rain, was perfectly miserable. I'm sure he thought he was going to die at any moment.

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