November 4, 2008

Weather - more of the same and I'm cold

We are going to reconstruct"We're going to reconstruct the country."
(In case you don't know, those are hurricane names)
Cartoon by: Dario Banegas, La Prensa, Honduras

The rain, floods, and washing out of roads and bridges continue in Honduras. I put out a 5-gallon bucket to measure the rain - after the worst of it was over - and we've had an additional 10.5 inches of rain in the past 4 days, assuming that Chloe the Rottweiler didn't drink some of it. That much rain is a big problem because the ground is so saturated, the water can only flow to the rivers, which are already overflowing.

The weather has been really cold and wet in La Ceiba and we've barely seen the sun for 2-3 weeks. I've been wearing sweat pants and socks for the past three days and flannel pj's at night. I'm convinced that I have that mental disease - what's it called? SAD? The one where people feel good when the sun shines and are depressed when its cloudy for long periods. Luckily I live in La Ceiba were we normally don't get more than a week or two of this kind of weather each year.

The humidity has ranged from 95-99% for the past two weeks according to my gauge. Everything in my house is molding: furniture, doors, clothes, shoes, light switches, packaged food, the outside of the house, the fence, the sidewalks, and on and on.

I live in a relatively dry house with (crappy, leaky) windows and have warm clothes to wear. Lots of people don't have either. I feel especially depressed in that I believe that these weather disasters and the poor who suffer from them are used to suck more money into the corruptos' hands, without the corresponding help to the poor or improvement to the conditions that cause these problems to start with. I would guess that some of the things that need to be done to prevent these disasters could have been paid for 2-3-4 times by aid from other countries, which is what I think Dario is alluding to in the cartoon above.

You can see some photos from the Trujillo area at Así es la vida, a Peace Corps worker's blog, and Hope for Honduras, a missionary blog. Dave from Helping Honduras Kids sent me this photo.

Cangrejal river road washed out, Honduras
This is − or was − the same road that we traveled in the Cangrejal River road trip series of articles, so if you take a look at those articles, you can see how the road and the river normally looks. Dave, who has lived in La Ceiba for more than 30 years, had this to say:

"This is the Cangrejal river road above Playa Venado (well before El Naranjo). The washout is less serious this time, but for the moment only bikes, motorcycles and pedestrians are able to cross here. Buses and cars are not able to get by, so the people in the cuenca are cut off. There are about 22,000 people that live in the Cangrejal river area. It will take a while before the gov't sends equipment to repair this damage.

"Back in the seventies, it could rain hard for two weeks and the Cangrejal river never came up so fast and furious as it does now with just 16-18 hours of steady rain. Too much deforestation has occurred. Not good news for anyone."

It's all a big depressing mess and now to make matters worse, Tropical Depression 17 is headed for Honduras. It's expecting to become a tropical storm in the next 24-36 hours and may drop 2-3 inches of rain on Honduras, or up to 6 inches, according to the National Hurricane Center.

I'll leave you with this. Read carefully.

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
--Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

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