… the rain. But not yesterday. It’s doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that for the 4th time the never ending weeds were sprayed only to have the skies open up and pour down rain. It was something entirely different. I had seen it before but only after the fact not while it was happening and powerless to do anything about it.
As the skies dumped rain I ran for cover at the house of Manuel, Made and Jeremy, their 1-1/2 year old son. They are the people who dug the Angel House well. Their home is literally constructed out of scavenged tree trunks, sticks and plastic found from different places. They hurried to move their minimal possessions deeper inside the 15 x 15 foot house to keep them from getting wet. The center of the home on this day was taken up by their bed complete with decaying wood frame and torn, dusty and well worn mattress on which they all sleep together. Did I mention that they are expecting their second child?
A small handmade table out of wood scraps adorns one corner of the house where they eat the meager meals that are cooked over open wood fire. No other furniture. It’s barren. We won’t even talk about the lack of running water and electricity and that their bathroom is a raised outhouse “protected” by just enough pieces of plastic so noone can see inside.
(the inside of their home – picture taken on a different day with no rain)
They welcomed me in and with exceptional hospitality gave me the only chair they had – a small plastic stool – so that I could sit up off the floor that was quickly becoming flowing mud. They don’t have a concrete floor – the majority of people here do not.
We talked for 30 minutes all the while rain was accumulating on the plastic tarp that served as their roof. Once it could no longer hold the swelling water, the water came crashing down on the muddy ground and splashed up on us, time after time. Everything was wet, the mattress, the table, their possessions, us – everything. The canal Manuel had dug around the house to divert water was overflowing and you couldn’t stop the tide of mud that was creating small streams that ran through the house covering all that was in it’s way.
Several times we repositioned our feet so that they were out of the water flow. As I watched the disaster taking place there was nothing I could do. That is an extremely helpless feeling. I cannot begin to fathom living in those conditions in the torrential downpours or under the blazing sun. No walls. Minimal protection. No escape. No comfort. And yet those are the conditions our neighbors at KM13 live in – day in and day out.
Later that day, as I walked into my apartment, with it’s limited furnishings, I couldn’t help but feel sad looking at “all” that I had while thinking about them trying to sleep, literally exposed to all the elements, insects included. And yet…they seem to always be smiling no matter when I see them, as if they couldn’t ask for anything more.
And maybe they don’t need more. Maybe they ARE happy and it’s my perception that is incorrect. After all, as I got up to leave their home, on their bed, I saw the one thing that gives them HOPE, that gives us all HOPE – THE BIBLE. And that is enough………..
In His Mighty Grip covered in mud,