This phrase keeps echoing through my mind and is repeated so often around me. It sounds like a good name for a song, or a scent of perfume, or even the name of a horse in the Kentucky Derby.
To me these words have always spoken about a lush time where everything is green and Guatemala’s beauty shines at its best. I have never been here in September and I have always wondered what the talk was all about when the term “September Rains” was used. Those that live here tell me September is the best month in Guatemala. I have come to see this month as the most varied when it comes to rain, that’s for sure.
Rain here is usually predictable. Not now. Normal rain in Guatemala is in the afternoon once the clouds have gathered and the sun has been out. You can see the rain come and you can see the rain go, but this week I have awoken to rain, it has rained in the morning, in the evening, through the night and I experienced a day where the sun barely shone through the clouds. This is a rarity here in Guatemala. Although it rains during the rainy season, the sun still shines most of the day and it can be raining on one side of the mountain and not the next.
The first really hard rain since I arrived came about two weeks ago. Luckily I was inside, but underneath a clay roof, it sounded as if someone was continually dumping buckets of water on the roof. This continued for an hour and then later that night. It’s the hardest rain I’ve experienced, and drenched everything in the blink of an eye. Rain here is such a blessing though and the people never, ever complain. To me every step I take could end in a puddle of water hidden underneath the grass. There is mud everywhere I look and I wash off my flipflops ten times a day. Such is life – September Rains!
With the rains though, we have had a round of casualties as well. The rain makes the ground soft and there have been landslides that have caused deaths. In our area the greatest impact was felt when the local “ambulance” was transporting a person to the hospital, approximately a 3-5 hour drive depending on the road. When they went to cross a bridge, the vehicle took a nose dive and the driver, local nurse, and patient all drowned. The bridge was weakened because of the rains and caved at the weight of a vehicle. No worries, I do not travel using this transportation and I am not in danger! Sunday marks Independence Day here in Guatemala, but due to these casualties, our area is still in mourning and have cancelled many of the activities.
Yet as I think of the drought that will inevitably come, I am thankful for the rains. My favorite sound is the rain on the roof as I sleep, drowning out the roosters, dogs, and other night noises. I’m sure I will soon miss the oozing of mud through my toes and the smell of wet earth. We will dwell on the blessings – the lush green scenery and a corn harvest that will provide for the families for the next 6 months as we will experience a drought.
Bring on the Rain! Imagine the music to your ears on this roof!