On the afternoon of December 23rd Nairobi experienced a wild storm with unusually high winds. The affects of this storm were varied. I understand billboards blew over and cars were swept away with the torrents of rain. The storm lasted only a short while, maybe an hour, but it had lasting effects for some.
I am one who is still affected. Being in a garden level apartment meant that when our grounds storm drains were clogged with debris the water backed up into my living room, dining room and 1 and a half of my bedrooms. Although the storm hit about 4 or 5 in the afternoon, the electricity was out and I did not immediately notice that my entire living room carpet was wet. I didn’t notice it creeping down the hall.
I had stopped home with an ailing student. She had been hoping for the past 24 hours to get on a plane back to her home in Canada, but had been plagued with malaria and some other sickness that was causing spiking fevers. She seemed determined to fly that night and I was hoping to be able to get her ready to go.
She discovered the floor was wet in my dim apartment. As I looked up to the patio doors I could see the glistening of a water cover. It wasn’t immediately obvious where what had happened or the extent of it, but soon I realized that if I didn’t act fast it would ruin more than it already had.
My housemate was away at a holiday party and was not interested in returning to give a hand. She made a few calls to find others to help, but was unsuccessful. I called the Dahlmans, long time friends from when I first came to Kenya. Like volunteer firemen springing into action, Bruce, Kate and their daughter, Kaari were over in a flash with towels, mops and a big fan! By the time they arrived there was 4 inches of standing water in the guest bedroom.
They scooped, swept and mopped until the whole of the water was out of the house. Once the rains slowed and the water started to recede Bruce investigated why this had happened. After that we rallied the grounds keeper (who had returned to work after two phone calls) and his friend along with one of our security guards to remove the 12 x 15 foot carpet and its matching felt under-pad.
The rug and pad remain over the laundry line fence to ‘dry’. Only problem is that it has rained every night since and I think it’s promising to continue. My living room now looks like an empty dance floor with most of the furniture from it piled in the dining room or distributed to other corners of the house.
My Canadian student got a shower and her taxi finally came after a half hour of searching for the place. I spent the last several days doing my best to count my blessings; no lives were lost, I wasn’t planning any holiday entertaining, no one’s plans were spoiled; only one Christmas gift under the tree to get damaged, I was home when it happened…
But it was still a challenge to not feel bad for a damp and now decoration-less Christmas. The bottom line is that I am really glad that Christmas isn’t about entertaining, or gifts or decorations. It’s all about Jesus coming to earth. I am so thankful for that, so thankful.