It was the end of the school day. A student stayed after class to talk about her grade. 3:05 I notice it's raining. Shoot- no soccer scrimmage today. It's really raining hard- dang it, I guess we won't be walking to the bakery for my birthday ice cream.
3:10 kids in the hallway start screaming.
9th grade boys. Oh man. I can't even describe. Before I even get into the hall, in the 10 minutes they've been out of class, they have decided to run out into this flash flood- style rain storm. They are soaked to the bone. They are dripping and running in the tile hallway, which is now a muddy slip 'n' slide. They are screaming. They are kicking a soccer ball around.
Then the lights go out.
I pray with some 9th grade girls who are upset. One says she still feels really traumatized from the earthquake. Where were you? In a bank. Ben runs across the street to our apartment and gets a rain slicker and flashlight, then charges out the door to go see what's happening in the admin building and the elementary building. Some kids come up from downstairs and report that a bunch of middle schoolers are crying. Two elementary kids are on the high school floor, and they are both upset, but being comforted by older siblings. Every single kid has out a Blackberry- I am not exaggerating (Blackberry is very dominant here. iPhones don't really work here and aren't common). Some start playing music. BBM (Blackberry messaging - practically like air to my high schoolers) is down, someone yells.
Ben returns and yells that all students are to get their belongings and walk together over to the elementary building. Other teachers take the first group of kids, but Ben and I wait for one last kid to get her things. She's an elementary girl, and she is upset. Ben holds her hand and I walked behind them, through the crazy downpour. All the way over to the elementary building I can hear him talking to her- "what is your favorite subject? I teach history, do you like history? Who's your best friend?" I fell in love a little bit more.
A handful of teachers and the 30 or 40 students still on campus stand on the elementary building porch and watch the lightning and rain. The ground is completely covered in palm branches, mud, and sticks. The mahogany trees all over campus had been full of seed pods- apple-sized wooden seed pods that have now fallen, sounding like gunshots when they smack on tin roofs. The ground is covered with them, like golf balls on a driving range. The rain lets up a bit, and now it is cold. The Hendricks boys play in the puddles.
At 5:30 or so it's just me and Ben and 10 or so kids. I had a long talk with two of my students- 9th and 10th grade girls who are cousins- about their "what I want my life to look like at age 25" essays. One confesses her family is still not sleeping in their bedrooms. For fear of earthquakes, they're in the foyer every night. Mr. Dekoter brings out 3 hot garlic rolls, and we all stood in a circle and got a big pinch. It feels kind of like a Lord's supper. We laugh at the fact that a "campus beautification day" is scheduled for the next day, we talk about Twilight, we talk about summer camp and tattoos. Somebody gets some chairs from an elementary classroom, so finally we all sit down. We promise that anybody left at 6:30 gets to come to our apartment for spaghetti. We make mohawks with wet hair.
6:45, parents arrive for the last kids. Our pilot friends say the winds were 60 mph. Ben and I walk home in the dark. Fat full moon. The street is wet and very busy. Every lady has a plastic bag on her head. We make mac and cheese and check our electricity- working, praise God. Dry clothes.
Today, "beautification day" went on as planned, just with a slightly larger workload.
Whew, what a day.