(our dirt road as the sun sets)
We wipe down the counters in our kitchen when we get up, before we prepare anything to eat, again after food prep and when we feed the cat before going to bed. After each pass the cloth is black with the dirt and grime that has made its home on the kitchen counters. We need to wipe off our plates before each meal (even though they are kept in a cupboard) if we do not want to experience a flavor of the street. And if we desire to drink a glass of water that is not clouded with dust we need to wipe those off as well. It is an understatement to say that we find ourselves in a dust bowl at the moment as the winds continue to increase, the temperatures rise and the cracks in our dirt road continue to grow.
We find ourselves in the dry season, waiting for the rains to come in (hopefully) May. It is though we have put a sign up letting the dust know that yes the party is here at our house and you and all your friends are more than welcome to make yourselves at home. However, we also find ourselves learning from our neighbors, and are implementing some of the many dry season rituals in order to keep our house livable.
We have begun to water the road in front of our house. No we have not planted any flowers or vegetables in the road. However, we have begun to realize why Nicaraguans spend hours each day during this time of the year throwing water into the street. If the road is wet, the dust think, even if for a short time, that the party is over, that their invitation is no longer extended to our home.
We continue to keep a bucket of water by the sink. In the dry season, not only is their more dust, but there is also less water. The government has control over our resources, saying when and how much water each neighborhood is allowed. Currently, we have water at our house usually for four hours in the morning and a few hours each evening. Thus we keep a bucket of water by the sink with rags ready to combat the dust that has already made it into the house whether or not we have running water at the moment or not.
We also have joined in the prayers for rain. During our first experience of the dry season in Nicaragua we found ourselves living in the MCC office. We spent much of our time with Yolanda, who works at the office, and our then boss Angela. Everyday Yolanda and Angela would pray and hope for the rains to come. As the season moved on and we experienced the abrasive heat and dust we began to understand and experience the reason behind their prayers that seemed to have begun as soon as the wet season ended. Upon the first rains that year Yolanda could be seen running in the rain rejoicing in its blessings and refreshment. I have no doubt that we will do something similar this year when we are able to feel those cool showers upon our faces once again.
(the same part of this floor had been swept only twenty-four hours earlier)