By Moonyeen King
“Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain”
Drumming on the tin roofs of the habitats of Tepehua, the rain sounds like marbles as the echo bounces off the cement floors and walls of the 10 x12 homes. The walls bead with sweat.
The beds and clothes absorb the dampness and the moisture in the air, and the children squeal with delight because they are allowed to play in the warm rain. Buckets are put outside to catch the precious liquid, and buckets are placed strategically inside in an attempt to stop the water from invading the home. A drive through the area will reveal drying mattresses and clothing on roof tops or hanging on fences. There are, incredibly, no bitter faces. ‘Solo Agua’...it is only water.
In Tepehua, the dry season always brings relief and short memories. The Community Center of Tepehua medical staff get many requests for help when it is raining and they find the children sick with congestion from damp beds and clothing. The dry season is the time to rip off and repair the roofs. This is progress – previously the thinking was: accept the inevitable, wet season we are wet, dry season the holes in the roof provide ventilation.
When the streets are flooding with rain, the water mixes the human and animal waste, and the children playing in their bare feet (to save their shoes for school) inevitably bring parasites into their home. Because of the lack of hygiene in most homes, the whole family is infected. They are learning and changing as rapidly as the seasons of Mexico.
With help to obtain materials, the men of the village are learning they do not have to live that way...there is another way that protects their families.
Yet they still celebrate the rain god, Tlaloc.