Monday, July 11, 2011

Lightening

The house which was struck.
Although the clouds roll and rumble above, this ‘rainy season’ has been considerably dry. In fact, daily the Sudanese staff are praying for more rain; their farms are languishing; their river beds are mucky and low.

But when the rain does come, it stomps its way in like a two-year-old having a tantrum, and makes everyone stop to take note. But then it’s over.

However, these tantrums often cause significant damage.

A few weeks back, Sabet told me that 3 people had died in a nearby village when their tukel hut was struck by lightening in the night.

Confused I asked him to explain why the lightening would strike a place that had no metal in it. Was this common? He couldn’t explain to me why --only that three had died and we should pray for the family’s loss.

Well, it happened again. But this time, it was much much closer.

Last Thursday, I was standing under my veranda talking to my translator about a patient. The rain was falling so hard we had to shout to be heard over the drumming on the tin roof.

Electricity crackled above in the clouds, hanging low. Then CLACK! --a sudden bolt hit not far away and fire flew skyward.

It was impressive ... and close. But I didn’t think much of it until later when I got back to the clinic for another patient.

I could smell wet ash, like an enormous bonfire was extinguished and I asked my translator about it.

-- Don’t you know? The house over there was hit by lightening.
--What? Really?
--Yes, didn’t you hear?
--Well, of course I heard. How could I not? But really, a house was struck?
--Yes, and the woman inside was killed.
--A woman was inside?

Together we went to investigate. A tukel just over the fence from our clinic, no longer had a roof. The woman and her belongings were taken by her son (who was outside the tukel when it hit) to a friends house.

I was told that Sabet went to pray with them and find out how we could help.

Remarkably, the lightening hurt no one else, even those just a few feet away.

Please pray for the woman’s family during this sad time.