Fire!

We have heard the rumor that when there is no rain in August that the people will set fires to the fields as an offering to their gods so that they can guarantee that the rains will come.  I don’t know if this is true, but I would not be surprised.  The people do a lot of superstitious things, and many still honor their old gods, especially in the country.  I know for certain that the people burn their fields in preparation for planting before the rainy season.  During the last month, the fields have been burning!  This past week, on the mountain across the valley from the hospital and our house, the fires are out of control, and there is a line of fire from the top of the mountain to the valley bottom as it has creeped daily toward us.  At night, it is pretty, and these pictures from Ryan Morigeau (you can see more photos at his Facebook page and his blog) show how beautiful they can be in the night, as long as you forget they are less than a mile away.  The days are filled with a hazy ash fog that hangs over the valley, and at night everything smells like a campfire, inside or outside the house.  I am glad I do not have asthma!  Just this morning I thought they had stopped, but again in the afternoon I saw fresh smoke.  I rest a bit more comfortably because there is a small river between us and these fires, and the people keep the valley bottom pretty well irrigated for the crops they grow year round.  But I wonder how it is for those on the other side of the valley.

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