Sunday, July 31, 2011
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS
RAIN, RAIN AND MORE RAIN
We have all heard the old saying "WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS" in more ways than one that is true with Haiti. If you don' live in or have visited the Tropics, S.E Asia, India, Bangladesh, the Rain Forests or our own N.W. United States you probably don't have a comprehension of the amounts of rain that can fall during each day of the "rainy season". I'm from Indiana where it can rain heavy in the Spring before and during the planting season, then as often as not be too dry during the Summer growing season, then be rainy during the Fall harvest. Even so I'm totally amazed at the amount of rain Haiti receives from May through Nov. and you can double that if the Hurricanes are hitting Haiti.
It has been raining pretty regular since my return to Haiti ten days ago but the last several days the rains have flooded the streets of Liancourt and yesterday St. Marc. Yesterdays rain was intense with near gale force winds and rains making it very difficult to see if not drive. The good thing is such intense weather conditions are about the only thing that make Haitians drive somewhat cautiously and slow down. I met many a vehicle yesterday with flashing caution lights on.
St. Marc streets were running with chocolate colored water yesterday often 12 inches deep. Where the steep side streets run down from the surrounding hills they look like mountain streams rushing to get to the ocean but once they hit the perpendicular main street it becomes a river of water.
The thing that gets me is the difference in cultural attitudes about rain. Yes kids will be kids anywhere and love to play in the rain and run through water puddles. Though of course in our culture we yell at our children " get in this house you better not be getting your clothes all wet", in Haiti it is not that way at all. People walk nonchalantly about as if they don't even notice it or for sure that they accept and enjoy it. Flooded soccer field serve as a new form of water soccer. Young men and women go out jogging on the streets a form of shower while you exercise or maybe visa versa. Possibly they may even take along a bar of soap, but not sure about that. Adults and children get underneath water spouts where the water comes off roofs and bathe. Young people, usually teens and twenty year old's dance in the streets or along the highways. This is all contrary to my way of thinking in that when it rains you get inside or protect yourself with rain gear or an umbrella. The other day as as I drove up to DeChapelle in the rain a lady was walking down the road with an unopened umbrella balanced on top of her head!! Now that may sound like an oxymoron to us from another culture but more often than not I see umbrellas used more to keep the sun off women and babies than to deflect rain. Contrary to what some people may think Haitians know when it's way too hot thus they may desire to thwart the heat from the suns rays rather than the coolness of the falling rain. "God's rainbows come in many colors and so do the people He created and loves". SJM