Never in my life have I ever experienced such a thing as this. Let me retell what happened.
Monday night Vanessa and I decided to celebrate our one year anniversary in the Philippines by heading out in the rain to try some gelato ice cream at a nearby shopping center. Finding a taxi was extremely difficult this particular evening, spending some twenty minutes on the street corner watching full taxi after full taxi drive by. Fast forward to the time we had to return home, it still continued to downpour. The lines of people waiting for taxis was longer than usual, but no one was getting picked up. With all this rain there had to be flooding and taxis weren’t accepting passengers but trying to get home. So we decided to walk home. I carried Jericho and Vanessa had Diego in her wrap around her body. It was not fun. At least a twenty minute walk through the rain to the nearest jeepney route stop. We made it to the jeep and thought we were home free, but not on a night like this. With flooding everywhere, the jeeps were crammed with people. Our kids were crying; not understanding why we had to be so squished.
When our street came in view it was no surprise, water up to your waist. The jeep had to turn off its route and we had no choice but to get off. “So what’s our plan Ness?” I say as we standing in the dirty flood water. We are able to flag a tricycle down and hop in. I barter with him, telling him I’ll pay extra if he can just get us close to our house. After trying many different ways and plowing through the water we make it.
We’re home! I change my clothes and start to call taxi companies. I didn’t know this flood was coming, but I need a taxi to pick me up and take me to the airport to pick up our pastor. Nothing! No one can come to my place because they don’t want to come anywhere near our area. So I roll up my pants and leave the house to find someone who will give me a ride. Empty taxis continue to pass me by; just my night, huh?!! I stop by a co-missionaries house and no one is home. I’m so wet. Umbrellas are no use in a monsoon. I’ve given up on finding a taxi. I stumble into the NTM guesthouse hoping someone is still awake at 10pm. I’d been praying God would provide something since I had no way of telling my pastor whether I could pick him up our not. Praise God there was a light on! Missionary friends of mine are awake and after telling them my situation we are in the car and on the way.
I can’t describe how relieved I was. I was so wet and tired from our little adventure in taking my family home from our night out. We arrive at the airport and thankfully my pastor only had to wait 45 minutes for us to show up, but we got him none the less. After getting him set up I walk home at 1am and when I get to my neighborhood it’s flooded. I’m so tired and I just want to make it home that I just splash through the dirty water and don’t even care.
We wake up the next morning and it has now been raining for three weeks every day, and for the past three days without stop. Our street is still flooded 12 inches or so. A missionary needs to be borrow my guitar for the conference we are having that morning. So again, I roll up my pants and head out to bring him the guitar. When I return to the neighborhood not 45 minutes later the water has gone up so much, at least another 12 inches. Candles are burning in the doorways of houses as a prayer to keep the water out. I’m shocked to see that with three more inches I’ll have water in my house. We immediately start moving things upstairs because it’s obvious the water is not going to stop rising. We do our best to deal the problem at hand amidst the kids crying for food and Jericho getting in the way as we moved the furniture upstairs. At 8:30 I hear a knock on my door and it’s a missionary friend and a Filipino friend who works at the guest house. They quickly help me move the heavy objects like our fridge and stove. They leave because it had stopped raining for a bit and the water ceased rising.
But as soon as they are out of sight it begins to pour again. I yell upstairs to Vanessa to start packing a suitcase and text a friend to come pick us up. At 9:30 he shows up with us off-road vehicle to rescue us. Water breaks over the doorway and is flowing in small waves across the floor. Sewage is regurgitating out of the shower drain and the smell is overpowering. We quickly pass our stuff and wade through the water to the vehicle.
Our neighborhood officials are floating by in a boat as they transfer people to dry land. People are wading through the waist high water with a small bag of their stuff and their children in their arms.
In all, our house flooded twice in 48 hours, reaching knee-high in the house and chest-high out in the street. None of our stuff was lost, but our neighbors with one-story houses weren’t so lucky. I had to walk through the water many different times. Sometimes the current was so strong I had to remove my sandals and walk barefoot. Garbage got caught on my feet as I walked and I have no idea what those squishy things were that I was stepping on. But, here we are in our house again. Cleaning the mold that was on everything took a while, but our life is slowly getting back to some semblance of order. I admit it was hard for me to open facebook after this had all happened. I was so angry to read people’s posts about the most unimportant things when in my mind I thought, “Don’t you realize all the horror that is happening in the city right now?” But, grace to all of us and praise God for the flood. If horrible things never happened we would think that we don’t really need God.