by SGP, Poet Laureate of Weary Travelers
Eleven, though not a cricket side. Rather, in fact, a sticky wicket.
Eleven family members, two year old granddaughter to eighty year old adopted Grandpa are entrenched in the upstairs level of the two level home as torrential rains downpour. The equatorial storm has pounded the village for days and has devastated the otherwise Eden.
The flood has overtaken the area as far as the eye can see, just roofs of the low houses and the upper decks of others stand out above the flowing roads and yards.
The country has not experienced such a natural onslaught in the memories of the population. The president, whose effectiveness is questionable at best of times, appears endlessly on the local TV expounding the fact that this is a freak situation that his ministers are busy evaluating.
The upside that the president's men will doubtlessly uncover is a marvel or a miracle. The electricity supply, normally a disaster component of the limited infrastructure has not failed. Pretty well all other community services are down and out, no fresh water, no telephone, no roadwork or ditch drainage and hence no means of evacuation should an emergency occur. Well, it is rumored the Army has another helicopter apart from the one that ran out of gas and crashed yesterday The problem would arise to get a message by hip wader to the appropriate authority.
The sewage and garbage disposal system has suddenly all come out in the open. It is part of the new landscape absorbed or floating in the flood waters much too unhealthy a situation to allow any of our team of eleven to venture a wade in search of supplies. Even the family pooch will not trespass off the balcony.
Sadness is in depth when thoughts turn to those unfortunates who have no home or just a one story home and all possessions ravished. There is no facility to accommodate or help them. There is a beggar who stops by daily for food handout and Grandma always provides. He lives on the roadside not far away but has not been seen for days.
In perspective, it is impossible to imagine the Tsunami dimensions. Perhaps, our eleven have been chosen as blessed to be provided with a high and dry haven to weather the storm. Our losses are limited to only those material things that could not be rescued from downstairs. Two of our number are he-men who manhandled everything critical. A boat just now came up the street crewed by friends of Grandma. The four oarsmen formed a relay team to transport all the bags of dry cement stored on a downstairs platform to the upstairs living room. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Grandma's water tower project can still proceed once the rains pass.
Grandma and adopted Grandpa are visitors to this "land of waters" as are her Number Two son, his wife and two little ones. The Number One son, his wife and three teen girls comprise the "Tribe-o-Five" hosts. There is a cultural stamina, always evident, ever hospitable, never flappable that provides unimaginable strength day in and day out. Grandpa, the only cultural alien, is awed at every turn by the steady pace of life come hell or high water A good meal is always in the making, hot coffee or a cool beer close at hand, five star service at its best each minute each day all with smiles and good humor.
Number Two Son, in anticipation of a Saturday homecoming celebration had gone shopping on Friday before the rains came to stock up for the crowds of family and friends invited. The flood set in during Friday night, the party was off, the house now ample with food and supplies The telephone kept functioning just long enough for calls to cancel all the invited guests. Are we blessed or what?
Eleven family, at least eleven special blessings, probably eleven days of flood adventure. Number One Son saved eleven of his chicken hobby flock.
Its just about eleven. Nearly time for the eleventh TV rerun of the West Indies vs Australia one day cricket tournament. Blessing? No!
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