It’s been raining. A lot. What does this mean for us? Hmmm…perhaps a few clipart pictures to illustrate:
(Lots of rain + poor drainage= flooding)
Jakarta is criss-crossed with a series of canals that run parallel to the streets. The streets themselves seem to have a rudimentary drainage system at best that is quickly overwhelmed by even a moderate rain storm. Now that it’s the rainy season, the streets will be heavy with standing water following a rain but seem to drain-off into the canals after a couple hours. The problem is when there’s sustained, heavy rain like we’ve had off and on the past few days, coupled with a planned release of water from the surrounding mountain region outside the city and the tenuous balance is thrown. We woke up early Friday morning to a torrential downpour and flooded streets; the canals had burst the banks creating a slow-moving river where the road should be. Greg closed school, informed staff and made sure security knew to send anyone that had happened to make it back home.
Not knowing how long the flooding would last, we went to the grocery store to stock-up on some more food just in case. Here is a video of our day yesterday:
I think it’s worth mentioning the importance of immunizations like Hepatitis, Cholera and such when living in the countries that we do. The flooded streets and grocery store parking lots has a lot more than water floating around…the smell from the street was noticeable about about 100 yards away. Much of the canals have wooden shacks that are crammed with generations living within the thin, wooden walls; the canals become the defacto sewer and garbage dump for many of the residents in these areas. While we live in an upper middle class apartment complex, those shacks and canals filled with effuse, trash and other nasties are within a short walking distance away. Needless to say, we washed out legs down after walking through the water to get groceries and will bleach our shoes.
That was yesterday. I woke up this morning to a significantly deeper flooding; the curb that we walked (on the way to the store) the day prior is now ankle deep in water, so I’m guessing the level has risen about six or eight inches. I’ve been looking out our balcony window at kids splashing and swimming in the street and hope they have a strong immune system. I especially like the entrepreneurial spirit of Indonesians; one man has a donkey-driven cart that he’s using to transport people. I watched another man take advantage of the floor to wash his delivery van; no bucket necessary.
All in all, it’s been another learning experience that highlights how easy it is to take the benefits of an adequate infrastructure for granted like we enjoy living in the US.