Two years here. I feel more at home than I ever thought I would. I’ve been packing my things to got back to the states for the summer. It feels weird to leave, yet I should already be home. A volcanic eruption closed the airport last Thursday, which canceled my flight. And then on Saturday the 29th a tropical storm rolled through the country. As of right now over 100 people have died because of tropical storm Agatha.
Here in my city the streets have dried out now, but on Friday night and Saturday the streets had turned to rivers. I stayed indoors as the rain fell on Saturday, but Friday night I got to see some of the early flooding first hand. I have lived here for two years and have experienced harder rain, but nothing that consistent. As I walked home from the graduation party, I started remembering the first time I walked around the city by myself. I had gotten lost trying to find the soccer stadium. Everything seemed so foreign. But now I felt comfortable. Even though it was nearly 2 am and the streets were flooded, I felt at home. I knew which streets would be on higher ground and so I zig zagged my way home keeping as dry as a tropical storm will let you. I felt relatively safe, if anyone wanted to rob me in that rain, man they could have my stuff. I made it home safely, but drenched to the bone. Two years ago I wouldn’t have ever done that.
Now Xela feels like home, and so when I read about all the people who have really suffered because of these storms, I hurt. A mudslide killed four somewhere in my city. The road that leads to my school was nearly underwater. The street I lived on last year flooded. These are places I know. These are people I know. Yet, my weekend was spent packing to go home. To Colorado. I was supposed to fly out on the 31st, but Pacaya erupted and changed everything. Having a few extra days in country has been difficult. Yet, I have realized I have made some real connections here; my students and a few friends outside of school. And that makes me excited for my return trip in August.
Please keep Guatemala in your prayers.