Tropical Storm Noel came and went, and (gracias a Dios) La Joya survived quite nicely. Many people in other communities did not – the South was hit hard, as well as many nearby communities close to rivers that swelled fuller than anybody can ever remember seeing them, swallowing houses and sometimes whole families at a time. All that happened here: no power for four days. It was sort of like a blizzard, where all you can do is stay in your house and play games, talk, read. I had never seen so much rain at once. From Sunday night until almost Wednesday night, the rain was nonstop, sometimes with a little break of drizzling in between the downpours, but always, always constant. I knew something was different when I woke up wet Sunday night from a new leak that had sprung right over my bed, in my normally non-leaking roof! Then it came out on the radio and by word of mouth of neighbors and friends that class was cancelled nationwide, that we were in the midst of an unexpectedly strong tropical storm. Now as the country deals with the aftermath, it’s interesting to see the stories of hope and the others of corruption. Many nations, groups, and families are contributing much to the rebuilding of these lives of the damnificados, or the affected, and just as quickly many politicians are siphoning away money and resources to their own families and political campaigns. How can this exist so blatantly, with everyone talking about it? But the corruption is there. And that amidst families who really were completely destroyed by the havoc this storm wreaked on them and their families. Still some parts of the South are incommunicable by vehicles. The rebuilding continues.
On a lighter note, my nearby city of San Francisco de Macorís hosted a big race Sunday afternoon, the first of its kind here in San Fran. It was (I think) a 15K for the women, youth, and old, and a 32K for the open category – the young men of the bunch who had been training for a long time. The men dominated the day completely, with barely a girl to be found in the crowd, the runners, or the judges. I figured it would be cloudy since it was raining hard when my running partner and I left at 2:30, but the sun came out, and by race time around 3:30 was hot and blazing as ever. It pounded the asphalt and the runners in the hot afternoon without relief. I had to participate, however, since the race ran right by my community; in fact, for my category, it was the turnaround point. Which meant almost the entire race, there were people cheering for me by name! I ended up winning the women’s category, and right away when I crossed the finish line and was about to fall down, a guy stuck a microphone in my face to interview me. All I could get out at the time was a “momento” to give me time to cool down. And even with two different interviews beforehand, they all made me talk during the prize ceremony about the great qualities of San Franciscans etc. – I went blank and had nothing to say, and probably looked like a complete idiot. Who knew I would become a winner in this country?