Thursday: Today I bore the consequences of my open-window policy. Many other window frames in the building also have no glass and the wind blows liberally through the place unhindered. This is usually great. It’s hot here, and I love the cool breeze at night. Not so cool was the thunderstorm we had today. Fortunately I was in my room when the wind picked up. I was caught off-guard, and it was quite entertaining to chase around after my various belongings before they left through someone else’s window, but then the rain started. The only things which would suffer permanent damage are my books and computer. Most of these were already out of harm’s way, so with help from some other students I moved the other non water-resistant stuff to the high ground (top bunk) furthest from the window. This was the only place which stayed dry. The floor quickly filled with water. It was like being on the deck of a ship. Once I’d got everything sorted I went to the window to shout at the wind and rain. “Is that the best you can do?!” “No-one is like my God!”
A tropical storm called Domeng had been forecast for this week. It was to arrive over Mindanao (the island south of here) on Tuesday bringing sustained winds of 75-95 kph and large bands of heavy rain. Domeng was not a massive storm by Filipino standards, but I have no window, no door and a point to prove. So I prayed. I emailed my friends and asked them to pray. I asked the students to pray too. Tuesday came but Domeng was still in the South Philippine Sea. The latest report said that it had weakened and was “struggling to reorganise”. Wow, did God do that because we prayed? The meteorologists downgraded it to a Tropical Depression and their forecast was revised. They said Domeng would strengthen, regain Tropical Storm status and make landfall in the early hours of Friday – tomorrow – but now it would end up much nearer here. The arrow on the map was pointing almost straight at us! Ok, so the game was still on but I was encouraged. Today I checked the weather again. Domeng had not reorganised. It had weakened even further due to “unfavourable atmospheric conditions” and was now just a low pressure area. The storm was dead in the water.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and His wonderful deeds for men.
Shouting at the “storm” outside my window was my little victory cry. No damage was done. It had just been a shower. I did, however, rearrange the contents of my room! I was glad of the experience. If I had been out at the time it could have been a right mess. Cleaning up was pretty easy and once the concrete floor was mopped it dried very quickly, the beds too. What I’d experienced was nothing compared to what could have been if Domeng had continued unchecked. Moreover, even with no window and door, I have concrete walls and floors and a secure roof. I’m better protected here than a whole lot of people. Co-incidentally, twice today I found myself almost doubled-up in pain and running to the toilet. “Is that the best you can do? No one is like my God.” This time through gritted teeth, but I didn’t care. This fight was already over. We won.
A couple of students arrived back from Mindanao today. They had left to go home after Yolanda. Tonight we had a bonfire party to celebrate their return. It was a beautiful evening. We ate and sang and played children’s games under the peaceful and moonlit starry sky. I reflected on how it could have been. God only has good gifts for His children.
By the way, I think I’ll keep my open-window policy, at least until they get round to fixing the rest of the building. I pray better when I have to, so it’s good to be a little vulnerable.