We have a saying in Bolivia, if it does not rain much in January then it will really be a crazy, rainy month in February.
This has been incredibly true in Bolivia and our local community. During January we had very little rain. We have had rain every day, and intense storm showers on many days, in February. Ten days ago we had a flash mud slide amid an intense rainfall. Five people in my neighborhood drowned. Over 50 people have had their homes destroyed. Many had their homes filled with mud and water.
Thanks to a slight elevation in our corner of the neighborhood and the quick work of many, we were able to get up barricades with rocks, sand, tree branches, old doors and anything else we could find to stop the mud and water from rushing into our homes.
Filo, Pauline, Ben and I worked with our neighbors until 2:00 a.m. to shore up our barricades. The next day we again had to strengthen our defenses as a second mud slide occurred. Less than 100 meters from our drive way the street turned into a wildly, raging river with mattresses, chairs, huge rocks, pots and pans washed downward as we helplessly watched.
We helped to organize the donations of basic food stuffs, shovels and boots in our local community hall. While we too felt the emotional stress of sleeping fitfully on edge for days as we feared another midnight mud slide, I will always recall the scene of a young neighborhood boy walking with his parents down the still mud filled road: The drizzle had just turned to a steady, harder rain and he looked up and cried, “No, No I don´t want any more rain. Please…”
Although Ben and Pauline still don´t have school because their local school was flooded and inundated with mud, the greater loss was suffered by those who lost all their possessions. I am so very grateful that my most precious possession, my family, is safe.
For all those who suffer from natural disasters, I offer my consolations and prayers that they may find the strength to continue.
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