There's rain and then there's RAIN, the serious, drenching, thunderous, crashing rains of the El Salvador winter season. Everything here is built to handle RAIN - people who visit during the dry season must wonder at the number of ditches around buildings and on the edges of roads. During winter you don't wonder, you're just glad that they're carrying the water away from your home or school or town.
Our house - like most here in Suchitoto - is built flush to the narrow sidewalk, but we are about three feet above the grade level, for which I'm grateful on nights like this one. Water surges down both sides of the cobblestone street, on its way to Lago Suchitlan. My personal criteria for "this is getting really serious" is when the two streams meet and cover the center of the street. It's almost happening tonight, but not quite, and the electricity is still on (thus blogging becomes possible): a storm, but not a catastrophe.
Inside the house, it's easy to see the wisdom of building houses with interior courtyards. All the rain - a decent small river of it - runs down the stairs from our deck, runs off the roofs, drips off the trees, and finds the lowest point - the drain that leads out directly to the street, where our contribution of rain joins the rain of every house along the street, and floods the gutters on the way Lago Suchitlan.
Most houses have their leaks, and ours did too, until yesterday: a drain pipe that made an L in our kitchen on its way to the main drain dripped every time it rained. But yesterday Darren - who was building us a great new set of shelves for the tubs in our bodega - attacked the problem from the inside with something resembling tar, and the pipe leaks no more. Another thing to be grateful for!
Farmers with their milpas of corn and beans rely on rain to keep the crops going and growing. There's been a serious drought in the eastern districts of El Salvador, several weeks without rain and the loss of a lot of the corn crop that will mean a serious shortage in the country in the year ahead. So I bless the RAIN in its glory and drama, the lifegiving RAIN of winter.