On Wednesday last week the government announced that all pupils in coastal regions of the country would have to attend classes on Saturdays from that very week, until the end of January. The mid-year break was also cut from 2 weeks to just one. Suddenly families and teachers had to cancel any previous plans or commitments and get used to the idea of Saturday school for the next 4 months.
The reason for this? This year is expected to be a severe rainy season, causing flooding, crop failures and mud slides. The government want the school year to finish a month early, before the worst of the rains, so that school closures are minimised. Schools in the flood plains may also be needed as refuges for people whose homes may be flooded.
It is easy to be alarmed by such predictions - though the forward planning is somewhat reasurring. The government has invested in flood prevention measures in the areas which are usually worst hit, and are running an extensive educational campaign, instructing citizens on the preventitive measures they should be taking. On the other hand, the recent tragic mudslide in Guatemala is an example of the destuction rains can bring regardless of our best efforts.
Elsewhere in the world, there is so much suffering currently through wars and civil wars. It is not just natural disasters that are to be feared, but also our own selfishness, greed and violence.
Isaiah 45 v 8 reads: You heavens above, rain down righteousness; Let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteouness grow with it.
As we hope and pray there will not be loss of life in this year´s El Niño rains, as I see the terrible news from the other side of the world on the television night after night, I am making this my prayer. May God flood our country and our world with His salvation and righteousness. May this be a season of redemption.