I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Still pinned down in Charleston: 24.23 inches rain in 24 hours

Rain pummels Charleston (and me)
As my routes over the next few days require going upstream up sections of the rivers that drain South Carolina, this storm will prevent me from paddling until the rivers go down.  Flooded roads mean I can't get a ride for me and my kayak.  Pinned down in Charleston, South Carolina.  Hearing about mudslides in Guatemala.  
They say this is historic flooding.  24.23inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Boone Plantation, just outside of Charleston.  Now saying 1,000 year flooding in some areas.  302 roads now closed in Charleston.  Wettest October on record, and it's only October 4th.  They say the damage will match that of Hurricane Hugo.  Informative Slate article.

More canoes and kayaks than cars on the streets in Charleston (Post and Courier photo)
If only I was the same place as my kayak, I could get out and paddle.   There appear to be more kayaks and canoes on the streets than cars.  

The rivers of the Intracoastal Waterway will make paddling there impossible.  When rivers are in flood, it is very dangerous to paddle downstream.  On the ICW I would even have to paddle upstream on sections of these rivers.  Even if I were to paddle with the incoming tide, that would be impossible.

Why did I paddle during hurricane season?  Hard to avoid it when you have so far to paddle.  Maybe I should rethink that answer.

Guatemala is being hit by heavy rains once again as well, with a huge mudslide on the outskirts of Guatemala City where many died and they estimate 600 people are missing.  As I sit warm and dry I'm thinking about the Safe Passage families.  Rain in the dump community is always uncomfortable.  The sheet metal roofs often have holes, but the larger problem is from flooding.  I visited one home where they described the river of dirty water that flows through their house with heavy rains.  They erected a metal fence across the far end of their house so that their belongings were not swept away.  The three foot high cinderblock wall they built across their front doorway makes entering the house harder for the people, but also reduces the flooding.  These families have grit!  The mother has created a small business making tortillas over an open fire in her house and then selling them on the streets.  Her business has grown as she realized she could sell them for higher prices when she walks several miles to sell in a better neighborhood.

Gratitude list:

  1. Southern hospitality on steroids
  2. Chance to spread more stories about Safe Passage here
  3. The firehose of tropical rain is shifting north (but not grateful that others will receive the storm)
  4. Time to complete the two presentations I'll be making at the UN in November
  5. Long Skype call last night with my husband Chris
Sunday, October 4, 2015
James Island, Charleston, South Carolina
Mega Host: Ellie Maas Davis

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