Think about a typical US cloudburst – a real “gulleywasher.” They typically last about 10 minutes – maybe half an hour. Think about a cloudburst lasting all day…and all night…and the next day…and the next night. That’s lots of rain.
It didn’t start that way. The day we arrived in Boileau was a typical sunny day. There was a picturesque little creek flowing across the road, just outside the clinic walls. It splashed a little as we drove across. When we left, after three days of rain, it was a raging river.
The clinic was closed since neither nurses nor patients could cross the river. Only five or six people showed up for Sunday mass…and they might have been some of the crowd that took refuge in the school building because their homes were flooded. We were afraid the flooded rivers might strand us halfway between Boileau and Port au Prince; we would miss our return flight. But, with Alix as a driver and Moise as our navigator, we made it. (Moise promised that, if the situation required, he would sit up on the hood and part the waters, like his namesake, Moses. Fortunately, we didn’t need to test his “parting of the waters” capability.) Sue and I just sat in the back seat, eyes wide with amazement at the flooding–and took a bunch of pictures – and prayed. Someone suggested calling the trip, “Wet and Wild”.
– Mike Frost