A quick story from my journal:
“The last night I have to myself before Peter comes back–well I think so far I’ve handled it quite well.
“A month or so ago I experienced the passing of my first cyclone. It was intense, but we never got within about 100 kilometers of the eye, so we managed. I was too caught up in preparing for potentially being hit by Cyclone Lusi and taking care of Peter who had a high fever (dengue?) at the time to keep a journaled record of the experience [but you can read the account I wrote later here]. But seeing as how I’m sitting here along with nothing to do tonight, I may as well record tonight’s experiences.
“It’s been raining for a solid week now. Ok fine, it has taken short breaks, at times was nothing more than a mist, and even took a full day’s break to allow us to do laundry–but it has been wetter than wet. Especially considering we’re supposed to be firmly in dry season now.
“It’s Friday, so it’s my last evening to cook dinner for myself before Peter comes back from Vila. [We cook for ourselves Friday night-Sunday. The rest of the time we eat with our host family.] Friday is also the day for ‘go long bot’–for drinking, whether it’s alcohol or kava. [I usually bring a light alcoholic beverage to enjoy while everyone else drinks kava, which my body has officially and firmly rejected.]
“I announced this fact earlier to the few people still in the village–most are on holiday somewhere else on the island for the school spel. So it’s mostly just been Mama Sonia, Daddy Bob, Uyo, Fabian (pregnant) and Auntie Yam (with newborn)–and only them I had to invite to join me. It was only raining lightly at the time, but still I wondered about the likelihood of them joining me in my kitchen without kava to entice them. And as the sun disappeared behind the mountain and the time approached to start a fire to begin cooking, the rain started coming down in buckets.
“I already knew that this meant no one would be venturing out to join me, but I also learned (in this order):
- That our kitchen AND swim house can flood.
- That Peter’s “rain coat” is a wind breaker at best, and not at all water proof.
- That we need to replace our solar lights–they don’t work anymore.
- That we need a bigger shovel.
“Number 3 actually probably came first, since it was already dark when our kitchen flooded.
“If all that alone does not tell you tonight’s story, I’ll also tell you the aftermath:
“There are now random holes in the ground between our sleeping house and the kitchen, but there’s a decent barrier that is keeping more water from getting into the kitchen, at least for now. The swim house too is no longer flooded.
“I enjoyed my drink and my meal of already-cold cheesy quinoa while every inch of me dripped onto the kitchen floor. Then I took a hurried, luke-warm (from previously boiled water) bucket bath, taking more time than I wanted to scrub the mud off my legs, feet, and flip-flops. Then I got into dry clothes, and crawled into bed.
“Here I am now. The rain is still pouring. I left the kitchen open so that Nalla would have somewhere (relatively) dry to sleep. I hope the dirt barriers and trenches that I made in the dark keep the water out of the kitchen for the night. We shall see.
“All this on the one night that I fill myself with alcoholic fluids. And, I’ll remind anyone who reads this, we do NOT have indoor plumbing.”