(Admit it, fellow 90’s kids, you’re totally singing “I’ll Be” right now, aren’t you?)
For the past few months, the Honduran rainy season has been here in all its wet glory. As I type this post, our corrugated tin roof is echoing with the steady drum of tropical rain. I’m feeling quite pleased with myself for having moved all of our laundry over to the covered lines this afternoon, despite the blazing sun. I still haven’t gotten a good feel for when the dark clouds on the horizon indicate a major rainstorm or just a temporary cloud cover, but I’ve learned to err on the side of caution. We jokingly refer to it as the “second rinse cycle” when our clothes on the line end up getting doused in a rainstorm; although it’s frustrating, it’s probably the only time our hand-washed clothes end up fully rinsed of soap.
Rainy season is a bit of a mixed bag: while it provides some relief from the sweltering heat, it also provides more mold and mosquitoes, as well as more power outages and -ironically- water shortages (more below). Although most rainy season days include some hard rain and drizzling with occasional sun breaks, we’ve had two major weather systems come through with intense, constant rain that lasts for days. After the first major storm in November, Eric and I both purchased some hardy rain boots to navigate the Finca when it’s inundated; they have already proven to be well-worth the 220 Lempira ($10) investment!
When the heavy downpours relent into a haphazard drizzle, our roof has the odd effect of sounding like a muffled conversation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to see who is talking outside our house, only to realize it’s the sound of random raindrops falling on different materials on the roof. So strange!
By necessity, we’ve gotten into the habit of putting our large, multipurpose buckets outside to collect rainwater during a storm. There are various theories as to why the water goes out when it’s raining hard: debris from the rivers in the mountains (where our water comes from) have clogged the pipe, someone “in charge up there” has decided to close the pipe lest it burst from the water volume, etc. Regardless the reason, we frequently find that we have no water during storms. Even after the water is turned back on, there is usually a 24-hour period during which it is unusable due to the rivers’ churning: I’m sure you can imagine how disconcerting it is to see brown water, speckled with bugs, leaves, and twigs, pouring out of the water faucet! All of this is to say that we are highly-motivated to collect as much clean rainwater as we can while we have the opportunity!
Because our lives here are so closely connected to weather patterns, “talking about the weather” is a far less banal exercise in Honduras than it is in the U.S. We observe the beach to see which direction the waves are crashing in from (if they’re coming in from the East, all is well; from the West, a storm is brewing); we look out on the horizon to check if el mar está enojado (the sea is angry); we keep our ears attuned to the trees in the distance, which –if you’re paying attention—can announce a sudden downpour with enough time to run to shelter. A river crosses our road at three different spots in the 7 km between the Finca and Trujillo. When it has been raining hard, we have to send someone out in a Land Cruiser to scout the road conditions before making a trip into town. It’s always a judgment call: one time, we made it into to Trujillo for Sunday Mass, only to spend several hours stuck between two river crossings on the way home.
According to the Hondurans, rainy season should be over by the end of this month. Already, we’ve gotten a few 2-3 day stretches without precipitation, which, since it’s still “winter,” make for some pleasantly cool days (low 80’s). We know that we are just weeks away from the arrival of un sol bien fuerte (a very strong sun), so we are trying to enjoy the tiempo fresco (cool weather) while it lasts.
…Which is basically our approach to everything about our life here in Honduras: We want to enjoy it while it lasts. Although the struggles and discomforts of life in a developing country are impossible to ignore, so are the unique joys and experiences of our life on the Finca. As always, we are deeply grateful to everyone who helped to make this mission possible for us. We love you and we miss you!