February marks the beginning of the rainy season here, although up until last night it hadn’t really rained at all so far this month. When it doesn’t rain, the heat just builds and builds until it is nearly unbearable. Last night the hot and humid conditions mixed with an incoming cold front to produce the “perfect storm.” As has become our Friday night tradition, we were walking over to Lisa’s place for game night after dinner. Meg had prayed before dinner for God to hold off the rain until we had walked over. Well, God heard and answered our prayer, because as we were walking over we could see lightning bolts coming straight down in the distance, but then suddenly they started flashing and coming down much closer to where we were, so we started running to get to the safety of the house.
Once we were inside, we all gathered around the windows and door to watch this incredible display of power and light. I don’t think I had ever witnessed such explosive, bright, thick bolts of lightning as what we saw coming down all around us last night. Several times, all we saw was a blinding flash of light, followed by what seemed to be an explosive sound coming from right above the house. When this happened, we actually saw sparks and heard a big pop coming from the electrical outlets in the wall! I was there with Meghan and three other girls, so you can imagine the screaming. Then the rain started to pour. It was blowing in from the north, and because there are no glass windows or storm doors, just shutter-like slats that can be opened or closed, water began dripping… no, running into the house until we had a puddle in the middle of the tile floor. About then the power went down. Fortunately, we had our flashlights and some candles, so game night went on as planned. We later found out that the generator (which usually kicks on immediately when the power goes out so that we’re never but a few seconds without electricity) had taken a direct hit from the lightning and wasn’t coming back anytime soon. We watched as the maintenance guy kept driving back and forth between the compound and the hydroelectric plant across the river. Finally, it was determined that nothing could be done that night. So after the rain and storm had ended, we marched back to our guesthouse, knowing that it would be difficult to sleep this night as the heat and humidity were still high, and there was no electricity to run the fans. Thankfully, Meg and I were able to fall asleep by laying very still on top of all the sheets, and later during the night it rained again which cooled things off a little more. This morning the power was restored, but we found out that there was a new problem… the water pump had also taken a direct hit last night during the storm, which meant we were now without running water. The water was restored this afternoon, but through all this, we have truly come to appreciate the precious commodities of electricity and running water which we take for granted everyday back home. Without these two vital things, we are truly at the mercy of the jungle!