Thursday, March 29, 2012

Deeper Than Before ~ And Still Rising

Who needs an oven when the cab of your truck is 121 degrees?  Well, maybe hotter but the thermometer quit working at that temperature two days ago so you can imagine how relieved we were yesterday for a cool breeze and overcast skies.  Normally we would have been wading through water getting to the family's home where we were going to teach last night but instead we were only dodging the horse manure and mud holes using a "torch" (flashlight) to light our way and avoid stepping on toads.  During our lesson the wind began whipping up and blowing through the home while an outside tarp flapped like a sail.  The father commented that a tropical depression was on its way.  Being removed from local news sources, that was new news to us.  In fact, all news is new to us!

It was lovely to go to bed with the windows open and the breeze wafting through.  Dare we admit that we actually felt cool?  Somewhere in the night we became aware of the constant pounding rain and wind howling and we woke up to soaked curtains, water on the floor and no electricity in the "power points" (Fijian for outlets).  Anticipating our appointment this morning with Tuliana and Olivia, we turned on our phone to touch base and found this message from Tuli: "Bula! Wel hope u 2 r fine, me a little bit cause my house is full of water its almost touching the roof.  just getin things out of the house so i dont think il mak it today.  have a nice day."  By the time we got her on the phone, we found that she was sitting on a table -- on the roof we think -- watching the flood waters rise.  She said the water just came up all of a sudden during the night and her whole village was flooded.

How we wish we could get out to the villages to help but again we find ourselves isolated on the hill where we live - safe but feeling somewhat useless.  How bad could the flooding be after less than a day of sustained rain?  No way to know without driving to each of the view points so we picked up the young missionaries who live nearby just to check things out.  What a shock.  The flood waters were already much higher than their highest point in January and the forecast has another 15" of rain predicted over the coming days.

We're so sad for all the families, homes, market vendors, and stores who are still reeling from the previous flood and its long term impact. "Slack time" is the term being used to describe the post flood period where market vendors/merchants are back up and running but the people have little work and even less money so everything is depressed.  How can they do this again?  The bigger stores have just recently been opened and they have the benefit of insurance but the family shops absorb all the loss.  The most affected are the market vendors who barely subsist on a few sales per day of food they harvest at home or buy from middlemen.

So it was with sad hearts that we drove around taking the following pictures comparing January's flood to today -- and who knows how much worse it will get.  We are cut off by the river from getting to our chapel which we were scheduled to return to just next week.  We tried to encourage the Church to purchase a new location safe from the floods but they had determined to repair the existing one and the work was nearly finished.  How sad for everyone here on top of their more important personal losses.
January 25, 2012
March 30, 2012
January 25, 2012
March 30, 2012 at Rajendra Foodtown, the one big market that stayed open
all during the previous flood but closed today.  That leaves only one small neighborhood
market available for supplies on our side of town. 
January 25, 2012
March 30, 2012
January 2012 - normally this road leads across a little bridge connecting a distant small
village to the main town.  We have several members who live out this direction.

March 30, 2012
 The forecast is not optimistic (, and the cyclone season normally runs through April but these dear people need a reprieve.


Ditto Family said...

Well, jeepers...I think it is good we are bring our flippers. So sad for everyone to have to experience this all over again in such a short time from the last flooding. Is it flooding on the Suva side too? Do we need to request pontoons to be added to our plane?

Running Rinnes said...

Oh, this just leaves me in tears. How terrible. And, despite being in the midst of personal concerns, Tuli takes time to check on you! And to close her message with optimism. The amazing Fijians!!

Matt said...

Oh no, oh no.....this just breaks my heart. What a terrible burden. Our prayers, as always are with you and the people of Ba.

melida said...

Oh that's so sad the people there have to go threw that. We will be praying. Take care.

melida said...

Oh that's so sad the people there have to go threw that. We will be praying. Take care.

emily a. said...

I can't believe it can flood that quickly. It's so sad but I'm glad you at least live in a safe place.

Maureen & Walt said...

Whenever I see a new post from you I ask myself "am I prepared to be touched by the Spirit?"
Thank you for capturing in words and photos these amazing events your experiencing with the Saints and others in Ba.
We remain in awe of the resilience and attitude of these Figiian people and you!
Maureen & Walt