Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Floods in the Desert: Praying for a messed up world

I began my last article with a list of some of the concerns in our world right now. As I typed the list, I thought, “Jimmy doesn’t even know about much of this as he’s virtually separated from world news in such a remote location.”

Jimmy didn’t need access to world news, however, to know people are in danger and hurting. He flew into his own situation right there.

First, let me catch you up on his location. After finishing the current solar panel installation, he flew to the village where he led a previous solar install two years ago. The following is a description of what he found there – some written by me from a compilation of his text messages, most written by Chica (the wife of the family with whom he’s staying.)

Yikes, did it flood.

The rainy season had been off and on. However, the night before Jimmy flew here – literally hours before the plane took off from his solar project – the rainy season turned on. 

A flash flood came through; the pressure of the water blew four culverts out of the road. The road is made of hard red clay. A few sections have culverts made of concrete and large causeways built under them to allow water to flow north to south to the millet fields. The water was so much and so fast – plus engineering didn't take water pressure into account – that it washed away these causeways.

So now the area is completely flooded. The floods extend for miles and miles and miles; the causeways are huge drop off cliffs. They cannot fix the road until all the water covering it completely subsides and dries up. That won't be until after rainy season and some strong African sun. Rainy season ends in October; then, the roads have to dry up and work vehicles have to get here. It may easily be November before they begin to fix the roads.

The broken culverts happened right outside of town. The truck stop and outlying neighborhoods are under water. I keep thinking, “Don't drink this water! We don't need typhoid and cholera.”

But, I know others are thinking, “Free and convenient water.”

It's all perspective, I suppose.

We visited neighbors today. Everyone is talking about what the floods mean for our community –

  • The flood wiped out fields that farmers planted only a couple of weeks ago. All that work, all that seed, and all that future harvest – gone.
  • Food and fuel prices will be high and then higher as the harvest will not be brought in. Prices have already increased by 25% in one day.
  • Our village is cut off from the road to the north, the country to the east, and the capital city. All of our goods come from those locations. We are literally an island right now.
Folks are scared. What does this mean? They don't know. Will there be enough food? Will the mills still run to grind the grain if the gasoline runs out for the generators? What about medicines for the hospital? People are thinking about the villages that weren’t flooded, but are cut off by the flood. Those people have no way to the market, no way to the hospital.

Some people are driving large market trucks to a certain point in the road; they then use dug out canoes to bring goods into our town. So some things are arriving. That is good. If they can keep essential supplies arriving, that is great.

Kap and Jimmy wanted to see if they could offer some aid. They went to the governor’s office but he had left on travels. His offices are chest deep in water. So, with no local leader, figuring out how to get to people who know what is happening is difficult to chaotic right now. The folks are worried about the river – which is on the other side of town – overflowing its banks.

So, the overall feeling right now is fear. And helplessness. So then more fear.

Please pray for us - that we can help with the immediate crisis and that we can bold in our faith. Pray that we can work past the fear and helplessness of being cut off from the surrounding communities as we try to reach a people who are cut off from the grace of our living Savior.

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