11 May 2009

The sky is falling

Not quite literally but it feels like the city is crumbling apart . It rained buckets this morning and the ground is already saturated so the water has no place to go. The rain itself isn’t out of the ordinary; we’re at the tail end of the rainy season. What’s odd is that it rained for several hours and even after it stopped the sun didn’t come out. We generally have an hour or less of downpour, then sun for the rest of the day.

A higher number of roads are washed out than usual. The garden wall at a friend’s house was washed away by a wave of water and debris coming down the mountain. The retaining wall across the gully from our house is wiped out. We hope that our wall won’t sink because of the fresh mud and water piling up at the base, but there really won’t be any way to tell until it starts sinking. There’s a reservoir up the mountain from our house and we’re hoping that this relatively small break relieved enough pressure to keep the whole darn thing from flowing down on us.

Of course these occurrences aren’t all that new to us after seeing the way San Diego reacts to rain every winter. But unlike in San Diego, they won’t close roads or condemn houses with orange cones and yellow tape. I saw a guy wearing a bright yellow vest, like a surveyor might wear. I’m sure he’s Bujumbura’s top engineer, on the case at the retaining wall. The gully is a main thoroughfare for walking between town and the rest of the mountain. It’s not quite the I-95 of Bujumbura; maybe it’s the older and more charming Route 1. The evening commute is going to be muddy.

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