After the Rains

I sometimes joke about calamities as they are going on because it's one of the ways in which I manage the stress and disappointment that comes from its interference with my plans. Afterward, when the damages are tallied, I feel remorse for having laughed at something that has affected people so tragically.

I no sooner joked about an earthquake we had here a few months ago and a major earthquake hit Chile. And the recent fun that I had with our Tropical storm has come back to remind me that while it helps me personally to laugh at my own situation, it is no laughing matter.

There are people who lost their homes and lives from volcanic lava as was the case here in Antigua just before the storm and from mudslides as was the case all over Guatemala when just days later we were hit by Tropical Storm Agatha.

I have friends in both the Panajachel area and in the Antigua area who were involved in search and rescue and getting aid to people who were not just looking for "stepping stones to cross the river that was the street" but whose cars were in the river and whose homes were buried in the mud. To them, I say thank you!

Lessons Learned during the rainy season

1) Do not get lulled into a false sense of security based on your prior year's experience. Just because last year's rainy season was unusually dry, remember that it actually rains and rains a lot during the season.

2) Make sure you have food in your house.

3) If you find yourself in the grocery store during a drizzle do not say "I'll go to the mercado tomorrow to buy my vegetables and fruits as I normally do” because it may rain, rain, rain - and you may not get to the market. See number 2.

4) Do not wait until the last minute to take a shower before needing to be somewhere. If the electricity goes out, you need enough time to allow your hair to dry naturally – especially if you are going somewhere where you need to wear a dress.

5) When the electricity does goes out and you think it's just that your lightbulb needs to be screwed in a little tigher, beware of your stress level so that you do not break it as you are tightening it. This is especially important if this is your last light bulb because you just broke one two days ago by knocking over your lamp during a breathing meditation.

6) Take your flashlight with you as you walk to the restaurant so that when the streetlights go out, you can find the stepping stones in the river that was the street.

7) Remember to laugh.

Who has lessons to share? Post your comments.

Too late to do what you were going to do.....

Sound Familiar? Last weekend, Antigua lost a Personaje - someone that is a part of the city - someone that everybody knows. Her name is Marcia and she died of peritonitis. Marcia was born with very short arms and non-functioning hands and feet. But, instead of finding her on the corner begging as most disabled people here do, you found her in the square, painting beautiful pictures with a paintbrush in her toes and a smile on her face.

Last month I said to myself "I am going to take a photo of her to share her inspiration with you and I'm going to ask her to paint me a picture".

I was "Going to do it ......". Another lesson learned many times over but not always lived.