POSTCARDS FROM A SOGGY PLACE #6 – And God said to Noah, build me an arky arky

There are many things in the Sandy Place that have not changed since this hallowed ground gave birth thousands of years ago to the religious faiths that shape our modern existence. For example, the hot dusty climate that kept Moses and the Israelites warm as they wandered the desert for 40 years in nomadic search for the answers to life which still puzzle us; the mud and stone huts which the most destitute of the world call home just minutes down the street from our encampment; and, of course, the lack of any type of drainage system still plague this modern sandy society.

I expected many things when I came here, heat, flies, dirt, dust and a year away from hearth and home. I did not expect to have to ford my way through a raging flood in order to eat lunch. It has been raining here steadily for only a day or two and the lack of those pesky holes in the street we call a drainage system and take completely for granted has suddenly reared its ugly head.
After only a few hours of rain, our little corner of the world has disappeared blanket of muddy water. My first hint that something was amiss was yesterday, after being absorbed in work at my computer for an hour or two; I stood up and realized I was standing on a soaking wet floor. We set to work pulling up power cords, rearranging furniture away from the door and sweeping water out of the office and down the front steps. Much to our surprise and delight, we discovered that our brown tile floor was not really brown, but a lovely pink and yellow pattern.

This morning, the deluge had only worsened. After mucking out the water that had crept in overnight, we all stood in the front door looking out on the main road in our encampment, taking in the transformation to our little corner of the world. I felt as if I had been transported back in time to Genesis 7. My first hint was the parade of pairs of rats, mice, donkeys, and bedraggled cats and dogs that paddled by, headed down the road toward a destination unknown. The next hint was the complete absence of local nationals which usually hang out around the back corner of the building. Curious, I looked down the end of the road and saw them furiously engaged in building a boat like structure, with the pairs of animals crowded around in eager anticipation. Hmmm. Apparently Americans are not as good as the local folks at taking a hint.

Getting to lunch was a dampening experience. I never would have thought I would say thank goodness for speed bumps, but they are now the only way to cross the road without wading through knee deep water. For those of you who can recall the hazy 60s might remember a favorite Beatles album cover where the Fab 5, in full regalia, cross a British street exactly in stride. The sight of soldiers, all in uniform and a perfectly straight file line, carefully marking their way across black and white hashed speed bumps could have been a slightly more dusty version of that famous pic.

The rain has continued throughout this afternoon. While I have felt quite safe in our hardened buildings, just a minute ago I thought I saw a humvee float by, and the little donkey cart the laundry workers ride into the camp in the morning has sprouted fins and a webbed tail. Tonight is lobster night at the chow hall, I now understand how we get lobster in the sandy place.

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