We rose at around 7:00 am this morning to sunshine, with a few clouds off to the North and East. By 8:15, the sky had begun to darken and by 8:30 am it was almost as dark as evening, just before African darkness begins to swallow you up. By 8:45, the wind erupted into a maelstrom, clubbing us and scattering the stackable (Costco) chairs, along with anything that wasn’t tied down or wedged against an immovable wall; it ripped the shade cloth on the porch to shreds and we had to lever shoes under the door to keep it closed. Horizontal rain rushed under the ridge cap on our roof, inciting a whole team of intruding streams into the room. Lightning and thunder so close and powerful that the ground and walls trembled against its might.
It rained off and on for about 6 hours, often with rain that looked like almost like solid sheets. John (the local Sudanese compound manager) and Josh and Aaron had gone to town to take Junko (the visiting Pediatrician from CHOC who lives only about 10 miles from us!) to catch her plane to Nairobi. They returned at about 7pm – all of them covered in mud, with stories about how difficult the trip had been. It took them over 3 hours to travel less than 20 miles. At one point, they went for over 100 meters never seeing the road because of the entire thing being under at least a foot of water. They got stuck in the mud several times, had to push the car out and once had to be towed out of the mess. All this even with John, one of the best drivers I’ve seen. Imagine the massive potholes and furrows created by huge, overloaded trucks trying to get to Bor or even all the way to Juba . . . then imagine the same road being traveled by drivers who have never had driver’s training and don’t really know how to drive, let alone attempting some of the worst conditions I’ve ever encountered!
John said that if it rains even once again, the road will be completely impassable. No wonder the ex-pats (foreigners) try to get out before the rains really start! According to everyone we’ve spoken to . . . the rains have actually started a month early this year. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, just like we were, how WE will get out if it rains again? The reality is that our best bet will be to strip down our belongings to what we can carry in our backpacks . . . and walk the 25 km or so to get to the airport! Good thing my orthotics didn’t disappear with my black shoes 🙂