For those of you who have been keeping close track of Central American or Honduran national news (which I know is all of you….) you may have heard that the first tropical storm of the season, Agatha, was causing some serious problems here over the last week. Rain hit hard on the southern coast and extended into central Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. What this meant for us was that it rained pretty much non-stop from last Tuesday through last Sunday. We want to assure you all that we are still very safe and sound.
Guatemala was unfortunately a little harder hit. They got a good deal of the same rain that hit us. Then Saturday, a major volcano outside Guatemala City erupted, shrouding the city in ash. The next day, there was some kind of land slide, if you could call it that, were a circular chunk of a city block, 20 meters in diameter simply collapsed into a 30 meter deep hole. Look up the pictures on google, it was crazy!
For a country like Honduras that gets pelted by rain for close to 8 months out of the year, you’d think they’d have built an infrastructure to withstand some rain and storms, yet that is unfortunately not the case.
The rain falls so fast that the roads literally turn into quebradas (streams). We walked home last night amidst a downpour and were in water up to our mid calves on nearly every street. Let’s not forget that the roads were first covered in trash and all manner of disgusting objects which we were then practically bathing in. It was humorous actually, the sight of two gringos huddled under one umbrella, pants soaked up to the thighs, marching through the streets. Nicki almost peed her pants laughing so hard.
So the water flows down makeshift dirt gutters into the real quebradas and rios until it overflows. In Tegus, the river that divides the city between Tegus and Comayaguela rose to the height of the bridges, 10, 20, 30 feet, and even washed away one bridge. It becomes impossible to drive on the unpaved roads, which are plentiful, because they turn into pure mud. There was even a huge landslide in our department that temporarily shut down a road. Some parts of the other departments were evacuated due to serious flooding. In all, 18 people died.
But life here is intriguing. On one hand, you have to just go on with your daily life. People strap on their rubber boots, grab their umbrella, hop on the bus, and bring their produce into town to sell. What else are they going to do? They have to make money. At the same time, it’s practically a national crisis with evacuations and travel advisories and refugee shelters being set up.
During these times there is little you can really do. You can try to go out in the temporary breaks in the storm. We mostly stay at home, reading. The drumming of the rain on our corrugated zinc roof is so deafening that we can’t even talk to each other. Laundry, which we tend to do almost daily, is tough. Our clothes hanging outside on the line stay out there and get continually soaked for 3, 4, 5 days until it’s finally sunny enough for a few hours to dry them out. We fear to open the doors, lest a deluge of muddy water come streaming in. It’s a sight to behold really. And this is only June, the real rainy season begins in September.