When it rains here, it pours, both literally and figuratively. The streets fill with water that comes rushing from the hills and you have to drive a bit more gingerly than usual. The bay, which normally rests quietly a foot or two below town tends to crash ashore when it’s raining, just due to the nature of storms rolling in from the sea. Being on an island, the amount of water becomes much more apparent for some reason, perhaps because it feels as if the rain were to continue for too long, there would be no land left and we would all end up in the sea.
Despite bringing cold wind along with it, which dampens everyone’s mood, rain also brings work to a grinding halt, almost. The Hotspot struggles significantly with rain because of the way it is laid out. When it rains, puddles form almost right away, and then they grow into miniature lakes, which engulf the entire camp. You literally can’t step outside of your caravan without having to walk in water. I’m not sure what can be done to remedy this problem, but it definitely doesn’t help the overall mood in the camp on rainy days. The grayness is bad enough, but feeling immobilized due to the water is worse.
When driving to pick people up for class, I generally pull the van up as close to the gate of Hotspot as I can, but when it rains, I have to reposition where I park so that the people coming to the van do not have to hurdle themselves over puddles in order to get in. The general tone of Hotspot is something entirely different on rainy days. It looks more like a cage than ever, like the overhanging gray clouds somehow amplify the unwelcoming nature of the barbed wire fences. The people inside look more like prisoners than ever, too, stepping carefully through the water, attempting to keep their shoes or boots as dry as possible as they flash their papers to the guards at the gate and then shuffle over to the van.
At school, away from the Hotspot, although we are warm and dry inside, the tone that the rain sets on the day is impossible to ignore. With so much water socking in the camp, only a percentage of people come to class. This eases the burden of having the place overrun by 500 people throughout the day, but it’s tough knowing that the empty chairs are because the majority of my students are stuck in their caravans with a dozen other people with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I can’t imagine what that must feel like, especially after months of living that experience.
But rain is something worth mentioning…and making a post over, because winter in Leros is represented by rain. In New York, it snows; in Leros, it rains. That’s just what winter looks like here. I’m taking careful note of the temperature each day, noticing that it is never much below 50 degrees or so, but when the wind blows and I haven’t seen a day of snow this winter due to being in this climate, I feel a bit chilled knowing that my blood is thinning. It’s weird to be a spoiled northerner-in-the-south in the middle of January.