We never have had the heat and dusty dry weather expect in April and May this year. Instead we've had a lot of rain and cloudy, cool afternoons. Sometimes the sun makes itself known for a couple of hours, but not longer than that. The night before last, several inches of rain poured over us. We didn't realize that it had caused damage until we went to see our dentist in the colonia of Mariano Escobedo off the Briones road, the old highway from Coatepec to Xalapa. Her office is in a corner building and we were puzzled to see all manner of vehicle pulled off to the side of the normally quiet and empty street. When we reached her waiting room, we were surprised to see mattresses on the floor past a sign saying Alburgue temporal. The receptionist took us to the back window where we could see some of what had happened. Children were sweeping out their flooded classrooms and ball court; gravel and rock had piled at the entrance to the small bridge and blocked it. After Jim's appointment we headed towards Xalapa and saw that trees and plants and dirt had slid down numerous hillsides.
This photo by Sergio Hernández in today's La Jornada gives you an idea of the kinds of damage the fairly small area suffered. We had to turn back just past the Botanical Garden because of electric cables in the street. At least ten houses were rendered uninhabitable, and our dentist was one of the local people providing shelter. At every site of damage, civil protection people and neighbors were working to clear areas. Other towns affected in our area ainclude Plan de las Cruces and Soncuantla where people also had to be moved to albergues. In the state of Puebla, to our west, the same heavy rains caused the Alseseca river to overflow its banks and led to evacuation of various houses. Although clouds threatened yesterday afternoon and today as well, so far the rain has mercifully held off, but more storms are building off the west coast of Mexico. Our waterfall has grown huge and powerful and sounds rather unpoetically like a freeway. We are all watching the skies more uneasily than we usually do.