16 October 2012

The Final Test

Then Tropical Storm Rafael (now Hurricane Rafael) passed through St. Kitts from late Friday through Monday, dropping torrential rains and causing mudslides all through Basseterre and around the island.  Since the center of the storm sort of hugged our southern coastline, the brunt of the winds came from the South, which means that Basseterre received a worse buffeting than usual.  Many of the primary North-to-South ghauts were completely flooded and drained water, mud, shrubberies, building supplies, and even cars into the bay!  A few of us volunteers had been saying we wanted to experience our very own lifelike hurricane, since our time up to now had been dotted with largely benign storms – it seems that we got what we asked for this weekend.  In fact, there is a sort of remarkable symmetry to it: when my group arrived on island in September of 2010, Hurricane Earl had just swept through the NE Caribbean, and the island was recovering from the shock of that.  Now, as I am preparing to leave, I am part of the contingent recovering from the shock of Hurricane Rafael.

In addition, I have been without running water since late Saturday, what with the storm knocking out the power for large swaths of time over the weekend and my neighborhood's water supply reliant on the water being pumped to the top of the hill I live on.  Usually this long after having power restored would be sufficient time for the water pump to have recovered, but the fact that it hasn't is indicative to me that it may be damaged and in need of repair.  Which means that my usual routines have been somewhat transformed: taking a shower has become bathing from a bucket, washing the dishes under cold running water has become soaking the dishes in room temperature soapy water, and washing my toothbrush off with running water has become saving potable water to rinse the toothpaste off.  Even things you wouldn't think about, like shaving or flushing the commode is different.  And this being the third day as such, it's doubtless I wouldn't have made it this far without the gracious help of my good friend Joy, who delivered a couple 10 gallon water containers to my apartment on Sunday. 

Current weather issues aside, I've been struggling to get myself over the hump to actually getting ready to leave.  I'm constantly pulled two ways about whether it's too early to pack something, whether it belongs in this suitcase or that, whether I need to pack it at all or leave it for the benefit of a friend or the next tenant in my apartment, etc.  It strikes me that this may be one of those "I'm not going to get to it until I feel the urgency pressing on me" issues.  So the over-under for when I get through packing is set for, I think, midnight Wednesday.  Mind you, my flight leaves SKB at 3:00 Thursday afternoon.  Now taking bets!

I've got some errands to run in town today: get some closeout papers signed and delivered to the Peace Corps office, close my savings account at the bank, and return the LIME modem that I am using to send this near-final update.  I already held my closing interview with my APCD, which went off without a hitch.  And after capturing some last minute photographs of my walk into town, which I am going to do this morning, I will be all caught up with my list of final things to do before leaving the island.  I have to say, though – I'm going to feel kind of guilty about the state that I'm going to be leaving the apartment in if I don't get running water with which to clean it up very soon.

Also, here's to the 200th post!

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