Sunday, November 30, 2014

Walking After the Rain

It has been a fun week, full of holidays and parties, crazy schedules, music classes, lots of rain and lots of good food.  We had a whopper of a storm on Friday afternoon, giving Lilly a 90 minute ride home from school on the bus.  Many people leaving the embassy were stuck in traffic for over 3 hours.  Dave rode his bike home, and arrived home soaked an hour later.

Because of the parties and all of the cooking, we asked Sumi to come clean up on Saturday morning.  And since we had the spare grown-up in the house, Dave and I went for a walk.  Our neighborhood is interesting - the roads are lined with large, beautiful houses behind thick gates;  houses that rent for over $6,000 USD per month.  The streets are congested and busy, with simple furniture shops, fruit stands and stalls of goats.  You turn off of one of these dirty streets onto these tree lined roads.  And when the tree lined roads end, you keep walking on paths wide enough for a motorbike.

That's where we walked on Saturday morning.  Here are the photos.

This is the canal that runs through the neighborhood.  One just like it, only narrower, runs near the entrance to our complex.  When it overflows, which it does regularly, you can not enter through that gate.  Under those conditions, it can take an hour to reach the other gate and our home.

It seemed that everyone was hanging out their clothes to dry this morning.

A graveyard for food stalls.

This woman chatted with Dave for a while.  We were discussing how crazy the storm had been the day before.  She said that the water was high in their neighborhood.  Look at this picture again.  See the red circle I added on the middle right?  That's her water line.  When the canal overflowed the day before, the water rose all the way to that line on the outside of her house.  Well, and the inside of her house.  You're looking at her door.

That's why everyone was hanging out their clothes,

...and their mattresses.

Because the entire neighborhood was under water.

Around the corner, these ladies sat on their front step.  The water didn't rise all the way into their home, but it did leave the walk in front of their house slippery and thick with mud.  Their doorway faced a chicken yard, full of lively chickens and littered with dead ones.

Everyone was eager to talk about the water.  I suppose that should come as no surprise.  Their homes flooded and they all slept on the floor at the local mosque.  Their belongings are hanging from hooks to dry.  This is the conversation point on this morning.  If you can see where this man is holding his right arm over the canal, he is showing Dave how high the water had risen at this point.  I suppose the surprising part is how friendly and willing to talk to us everyone was.

These are the houses on the hill - the pricey houses on the tree lined streets, with guards and drivers and housekeepers.  Houses like ours.  They live on these retaining walls so they don't flood, driving all of the waters directly into this tiny canal.

These folks were all walking across this little field / community dump while I was staging the photo of the houses on the hill.  The kids were adorable, but wouldn't chat with us at all.  The ladies were chatty and on their way to a party.  They were laughing and happy, and beautiful.

Possibly the most striking part of our walk was seeing the quick recovery of this neighborhood.  Yesterday's flood waters had receded by the morning and everyone had cleaned out their floors and washed and hung their clothes from the rafters.  They were now getting ready for the party, which was going on as scheduled.  People were dressed in their fancy clothes, speakers were booming music, and a stage was set up with rows of chairs for the audience.  Just another day.

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