It is pouring rain in Miami but it is nothing like pouring rain in Guatemala. The rainy season runs May through October. I’ve been in the pouring rain in Nicaragua in August – a delight I will never forget, but only a few times. Now the rains of Guatemala have left a lasting impression. It is hard to imagine until you experience it …day after day of afternoon pouring rain. Most days it is not that bad – you just pack a rain jacket and put it on when it begins. However, what is something…the part that doesn’t leave, fade, or become “normal” is the impact on the people who live this season. I have watched it day after day in many communities in this country, but my perspective is only one month….just a tiny glimpse.
Yesterday on the ride to Guatemala City, it was pouring rain. The mud was running down the mountainsides. The streets were flooded and the holes grew bigger. The road between Quetzaltenango (Xela) and the City is all curves…just one after the other. There are no speed limits here – you just drive and make the best of each moment. As we made our way through a few hours of driving I watched as we passed by literally hundreds of people walking in the blinding rain – on their way home from work or the market or the tasks of the day. Occasionally there would be someone on a bicycle with a trash bag or plastic poncho flying in the wind, covering their shoulders and providing some shelter from the wind. When the day faded into night, it was hard to see and we were watching for people as much as for flood water or stalled cars without lights.
The rainy season. Watering the earth and providing nutrients for the dry season to come. Challenging the daily grind and reminding me that my life is so easy. When it rains, I have immediate shelter. I get to drive wherever I go and when night comes; I have lights to guide me. This is not the case for everyone – even working people with jobs and enough money to eat. And what am I doing with that “ease” of life? There is a song by Jackson Browne with a line that says, “and when the morning light comes streaming in, I’ll get up and do it again”. I think that when I get up tomorrow I am going to do something different.