last night, at 5 am, I woke to the sound of thunder. above me, there were none of the familiar stars. I moved quickly, rolled my sheets and pillows into a ball, tucked the foam mattress under my arm, and dashed to my tukul as the first drops fell. I lied on the ground and listened to rain tap, staccato, on the grass roof. it didn’t last long. a second warning. beware. act fast.
the morning was cloudless. 42 C by noon. lunch brought a few tall, white stacks. by 2 pm, the team huddled in one corner of our meeting space as the rain fell in sheets, heedless.
i called over to andrea, our nurse, from the medical tukul. "TFC!" i yelled. she smiled at me. the rain drowned my voice. "TFC!", i said again, and traced the letters to her. her eyes widened, and she covered her mouth.
i called to the hospital. the women and children were crowded into two rooms. dry for now. measles? the one family was tucked into a spare corner.
the rain slowed, and we mucked our way to the hospital. the recubras we waterproofed after the last rain were soaked. so too the TFC. dirty water pooled on their plastic sheeted floors. a live wire sparked near the measles area.
the recubras wouldn’t do. tents? maybe. containers? none to spare. we walked around the hospital, looking at structures, and roofs, and walls. knock this one out. move people to the veranda. does the lab need to be there? why not here?
we covered the wire, and resolved to sit down with a pen and paper tomorrow and reimagine our too full hospital as a different place.
for now, the skies are a smooth, calm gray. our TFC patients have been moved to an emergency tent. we have been warned twice. it’s at least one more than we deserve. we sorely need a logistician to inherit this puddled clay kingdom.
a tiny blue breasted bird is tapping the post, just outside my door. if i can read his expression, he is very pleased with this latest meteorological turn. for everything there is a season.