Freak Storm

Friday, 26 March 2010

In the wee hours of the morning, the rain came back.

I woke from the strong rush of cool wind and the sound of flapping wooden windows; and the rain came no sooner than I had the time to secure the doors and windows of my small wooden house. I stepped into the veranda and there was a weak moonlight that clothed the forest. I got sprayed by the rain, drenching my arms and shorts, and gave me chills in bed.

This rain is a kind of continuation to the sudden thunderstorm from the early evening of yesterday – a respite from high temperature that came in a blitzkrieg manner, just less than a couple of hours after quite an intense staff meeting we had where the subject of extreme heat and lack of rain dominated the discussion. The farmers are having difficulties in growing crops on their rows with all this heat and frustration has been gnawing at their patience.

On the flipside of the issue, one of the senior local staff made an in-your-face counterpoint by raising the seemingly lack of serious effort of the field staff to address the issues of the farmers, that they (the staff) are sleeping on their job- an accusation met by silence but this I speculate is because no one wanted to get into a serious verbal tussle with this lady staff who has a reputation of being vocal and critical. On my part, I found myself the initiator of this debate, egged on the field staff to speak up, bring their varying concerns up on the table so that appropriate remedies can be applied. Oh well, we have been through a lot of this kind of productive arguments and actions that they have long been a pattern of field challenges or a rhythm of life in the village.

But yesterday’s whine against the climate took on a bizarre turn. From a desultory feel of things brought on by the heat of summer, the sudden grumbling across the northern sky coupled with the massing up of dark clouds sent a longed-for answer of bountiful rain to slake the parched fields. However, it was a brief violent storm with lightning and thunder. The flashes of lightning were particularly scary, too strong and random for good measure. The villagers had a fright for sure, cowering in a corner of their house, having known already how deadly one strike can be after a child was mortally struck inside her house a few years back. It looks like we are situated in a lightning zone.

In its wake, the storm left some roofs blown off and trees pulled apart and lying by the road. One of our structures (a meeting/parking place) was toppled down and the staff house roofs were also blown away. Through all this condition, I found once again the uncanny juxtaposition of things that leaves one marveling at how the rhythm of the universe unfolds before our eyes and within the realm of our fears and hopes.

Koh Kong, Cambodia

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