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It was the middle of the night. The festivities began with thunder and lightning, as all good tropical storms do down here on the equator. The world shook and reeled, earth and buildings reeling under fists of pounding roars. The ghost of our lost dog, Blue, galloped through my dreams, headed for our bed, which he always did, shivering and whining,  at the slightest thunderclap. Of course, the sound that terrified him in Oakland was a hint of a whisper compared to this. We noted it and snuggled down safely. Or so we thought. Then came the voices.

The embassy personnel who guard Erin and Sean’s residence were splashing and yelling around the grounds. Erin’s the mission director for Indonesia USAID (more about that later) holds the rank of Minister-Counsellor in the diplomatic service, roughly the civilian equivalent of a 2-star general, so the residence is under guard. Not the secret service or armed military, but still 24/7 watchful eyes.

The downpour that accompanied the noise and flashes had inundated the compound. Our guest quarters are on the second floor overlooking  the yard and pool to the main house, and we could see that water had poured through the sliding glass doors into the ground floor room, which houses the main kitchen and family room, as well as the housekeeper’s small apartment.

She  lives in several days per week, and her rooms on that level. The water lapping around her bed had awakened her.  She called for action, and act we did.

We waded around in shin deep water,  lifting furniture out of harm’s way, unplugging electronics, and generally doing what we could to minimize the damage.

By early morning, the rain had lessened, though not stopped, and the waters receded. A dove with an olive branch lighted on the wrought iron fence, so we think life can go on.




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