The rains came late this year; they started to intensify around the time of the NYC hurricane scare. My neighbor’s Davis weather station confirmed that the “Amazon Pipeline” was delivering torrents from both the Atlantic and Pacific. Trees bent double as the drenching bands blew north- they flashed like flimsy x-rays in the lightening. After days of this, the Rio San Francisco engorged. Overnight, water borne boulders assaulted the shoring embankments and went on to pound even the legacy knolls all the way back to the seawalls. The erosion was so through that the twelve foot wide path to the Life School retained no more than a 6″ sliver of road. With roads washing away, of course, school was canceled in the Department of Solola.
The morning after Tropical Depression E12 passed, I was negotiating mud and admiring the earth mover parked on Santander. Then, I saw Amy looking pale and disoriented. The kindergarten teacher had been evacuated from her home on the Jucanya side by the Bomberos, who arrived at dawn with ropes cinched around their waists. After breakfast, we would form a posse to rescue some of her things and her absent landlord’s instruments. One of the men got permission to scale a neighbor’s fence and handed down cases of banjos, ukes and guitars to the ready brigade that had formed. By the afternoon, Amy was relocated with all of her belongings but she was still shaken. For a brief moment it looked as if Panajachel and Jucanya had “dodged the bullet” this season.
But, no… Word began to come in about Rosa Garcia’s brother, Guillermo.
He and his four month pregnant wife couldn’t sleep that night because the rain was beating too furiously. So, just before dawn they got up and went downhill to Rosa’s. It would be less than a half an hour until the mud and rocks crushed down and dumped an avalanche into their house while they watched from her driveway.
By the time I got to Rosa’s, in Patanatic, about a week later friends had excavated a small closet and most of their clothes had been rescued. The younger girls clowned and mugged for the camera while the work continues on in their uncle’s old house. Guillermo has already drawn up plans for his new house to be located between Miguel’s and Rosas’s. He probably will not return to his first house even after it has been cleaned. …
Friends in town are talking about a fundraiser for the family at Casa Cakchiquel and once arrangements have been finalized I will post a place send donations.