I woke up this morning to the sound of the radio and my alarm clock going off at 6:30am. I looked at my clock and saw that it still read 3:00. The electricity hadn’t come back on yet. Bummer. I could hear the rain hitting the roof and knew there would be no school today. I went to the dining room area to see what everyone was doing. Nothing much. Everyone was just sitting around at the table. Cecilia was making breakfast. Schools might be closed but thank goodness the bread lady came as usual so we could have bread with our beans and eggs. Blanca made plantains with cinnamon to accompany the other foods. We may be stuck in the house but we were dining well.
After breakfast I pondered what I should do with my morning since it was still raining and we had no power. I could read a book, but the only ones I brought with me are about massacres and genocides around the world. Cheerful stuff, I know. I thought about what I would do if I were at my house in the States if it was raining and I was without power. Play a board game. Go to a coffee shop. Work on scrapbooking. Visit friends. Work out at the YMCA. But there really aren’t a whole lot of options here. Sure, there were things I could do, things I needed to get done. I could have cleaned my room, organized the pictures I had printed out for people, worked on school things, etc. But I was feeling really lazy and lethargic and none of those things sounded particularly enticing.
Kathy brought some word and number games from her office as well as a book to read. Blanca was crocheting a scarf from some yarn she’d had for several years. Cecilia worked on the puzzle. Idalia listened to the radio. I eventually settled on reading a Newsweek magazine I’d gotten from the States back in May that I hadn’t read yet. The time seemed to drag by. Every time I glanced up at the clock only 15 minutes had gone by. After a while I felt myself getting antsy.
I got up and went to go see what everyone was doing. I grabbed my camera so I could document what I called these “important moments.” When I’d finished taking pictures I got my birds out of their cage. They’d been stuck inside the house for a while since it’s been raining. We made a trip to up to Alejandro’s room to see what he was doing. He’d stayed home this morning as well because of the rain and was cleaning his tools. The birds tried to help but they just played on his toolbox. Soon they were getting cold so I took them back to their cage in my room to get warm.
Around 10am, after listening to everyone comment on the pajama pants I was still wearing, I decided to put on regular pants. The ladies said if we had to leave the house quickly for some reason then everyone on the street would comment on my red pants that had hearts all over them. I believe this was prompted by a call we received telling us that someone from one of the cantons had died and the family was going to be stopping by later in the day. The Pastoral Team would be donating some sugar and coffee and giving them money to buy bread for the vigil held that night. I couldn’t help but think how awful it would be to lose someone on such a crummy day like this one.
Everything feels wet. Everything smells wet. There’s a musty odor in the air. Thank goodness almost all of my clothes are clean so I don’t have to worry about doing laundry. It would never dry in this kind of weather. As I was looking in my closet and contemplating putting on a new shirt I realized that some of my jewelry had started to grow mold. Yuck!! Things get moldy here so quickly. And it seems like really strange things that shouldn’t be growing mold start growing moldy. I just cleaned my suitcase a couple days ago because I realized it was growing mold. I went to Kathy’s office looking for sympathy. But she’s been having mold problems as well. It went after her shoes and her walls. That’s life in the raining season.
Since I’d finished my magazine I dragged myself back to the dining room table to read the newspaper. But it didn’t have anything happy to offer me. There were reports of damage from the rain and people that have been evacuated from their homes. In the department of Usulután, the cities of Berlín (where I live), Alegría, and Santiago de María are at a high risk of flooding and landslides due to rain. On the news we heard that the Ministry of Education has cancelled school tomorrow for the entire department of Usulután. And lots of folks are starting to worry about their corn and bean crops and whether or not they’ll be washed away.
A little before 3pm Elida and her family stopped by. They had been in San Salvador to retrieve the body of her brother. After getting hugs from everyone she sat down to rest and have some hot tea. The team got her the sugar, coffee, and money for the pan dulce. Then we carried plastic chairs that her family would be using that evening for the vigil to the truck waiting outside the house. The rain had not relented and I was again reminded of how difficult it must to lose a loved one and have the vigil on such a cold, unpleasant night.
Just as Elida and her family were leaving the power came back on. We’d gone for 24 hours without electricity, though it felt like much longer. As soon as the family was on their way the TV was turned on, computers turned on, and phones plugged in. You’d had thought we’d been without power for days the way we all were acting. I hadn’t received any earth shattering emails and my family all knew I was safe so I probably could have gone longer without using my computer. It’s amazing how attached we are to technology, even in a developing country like El Salvador.
Not long after the power came back on Ismael and Carmen from La Llanes stopped by. Ismael had been in the hospital in Santiago de María with some sort of bad stomach problem for a couple days. We were all glad to see that he was okay and had been released. Of course, now that they were back in Berlín they had a two hour walk in the pouring rain to get home. So they had some coffee and pan dulce here before they began their trek to La Llanes. Blanca gave Ismael a coat to wear since he only had on what he’d worn to the hospital. The ladies also gave them both huge garbage bags that they assembled into ponchos. I couldn’t imagine walking for two hours in the rain after getting out of the hospital.
Around 5pm I decided to see what was going on outside the house. I wanted to see if the ladies at the Evangelical Church were making pasteles or if someone was selling french fries. But I had no such luck. As opposed to most days at that time, today the town seemed completely abandoned. Only a couple of the small stores were open. I went inside and got some yogurt, pachanga mix, and chocolate cupcakes. Those were the things I decided I needed to survive the night and the next couples days. I hear there’s another storm coming. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Reading at breakfast
Listening to the radio
Working on the puzzle
Crocheting a scarf
Lots of umbrellas
Barbara got wet
Trying to dry out