Sunday, March 21, 2010
I know that people in the DC area lived through several feet of snow this winter, the so called snowpocalypse, and that my New England family and friends experienced 10 inches of rain last weekend and are still pumping out flooded basements. This morning, we had a rain phenomenon like nothing that has ever happened in my time here. It rained during school hours. Insert foreboding, dramatic music here.
The rainy season has begun again, which means that it rains almost every night at about 7 for a few hours, or for a while just before dawn. But it always stops by about 6 or 6:30 am, just as we’re all going outside to eat breakfast and get ready for class. This morning, it just kept raining, and literally, this was the first time in my six months here that we have had rain during school hours. If you think about most American schools, rain is no big deal. The buildings are enclosed, and once the kids get off the bus, or out of the car and run in from outside, they’ll be dry for the rest of the day. Not so much here. We have 2 classrooms that are literally outside under trees. We’re using five tents whose floors consist of a tarp over a dirt soccer field. Windows are wide open. There’s not very good drainage. We all have to walk outside to get from class to class. Oh, and we all wear sandals most days.
I of course had my first two classes of the day in one of the muddy tents. Unfortunately we HAD to open the window flaps or we would all have suffocated from the heat, but then the rain came inside. Lucky for me, I’ve been through many years of snowy days at school, so I knew enough to just let the kids spew whatever they needed to say about the rain for a while before delving into any even remotely academic work. It wasn’t pretty, but we survived. The pictures above are from the rainy morning assembly. You can’t actually tell how many kids are under that one umbrella unless you count the feet. I think there are 12 feet. The highlight of the morning however was when staff erupted into a spontaneous dance party in the rain as the kids sang the school song. That helped improve some people’s attitudes …
But in all our joking and laughing about the rain, and the inconvenience of having horrifically dirty feet all day from running around in the mud, I tried not to lose sight of the fact that there are still hundreds of thousands of people living outside in this country. Their tents generally aren’t as nice and waterproof as our classroom tents, and they don’t all have dry buildings to go into to dry off. It’s still going to be a long road for so many of them.