Adriana Uribe

This week we learned in school how rain happens. I’ve also realized I will never be safe. No one is safe. Floods and landslides are happening everywhere in Colombia right now. Pundits continue talking about people from one political party or another, rich people, powerful people, famous people, even the army – all of them attempting to stop the tragedies that rain is creating. But what people do makes no sense. They keep donating money or doing things that have nothing to do with stopping the rain. Grownups are stupid because even though they know why rain happens, they don’t change the way they do things.

I watch the seven o’clock news with Abuela everyday and the same story is repeated in different parts of the country. Yesterday, the images on the TV screen seemed to be the same as the day before: Villages wiped out by rivers flooding after storms and heavy rains. They showed more people standing on rooftops with dogs and cows awaiting rescuers to come on boats and helicopters. There were people rowing canoes in what should have been streets and a reporter said that many of the main roads were blocked because of landslides. Even the mountains are being washed away.

Every day the talking heads chatter about the state of alarm growing in Bogotá and in the country. The shops and markets in this city depend on produce arriving in trucks now stuck somewhere in the mountains or already underwater.

I explained to Dora why she needed to stop ironing. She didn’t complete primary school so she probably didn’t know.

“When water evaporates, the steam goes up to the sky and then it forms clouds. When the clouds become too heavy, they start turning into rain.”

The steam coming from the hot iron will make the rain worse. It hissed every time she slid it on the ironing table. Transparent clouds rose to the ceiling before becoming invisible. I cannot see it, but I guess the steam will leave the room through the windows to reach the sky.

“I have to finish nena. Your abuela will be upset if Don Hugo doesn’t have his clothes ready to go to work.” Dora is scared of my dad and every time she makes a mistake or doesn’t finish a chore, she thinks my abuela will fire her.

My dad’s rage is almost as scary as the news about storms and flooding rivers. Perhaps even more worrying because he would shout and say mean things to everyone in the house. He always apologizes afterwards. I guess his rage is more apparent, and Dora feels embarrassed in front of my dad. My abuela told me that men sometimes behave like that, and I shouldn’t pay much attention, but both she and Dora behave differently when my dad is around. They look nervous, like when abuela invites over important people for lunch; like her boss or those ladies who are not her close friends but pretend to be.

Abuela taught me to fear the rain more than my dad’s anger. According to her, the rain in Bogotá could not only destroy everything, it could also make you very sick. You could get a cough, develop bronchitis, catch a pneumonia and eventually die. She makes sure I wear two t-shirts under my school uniform every day, and Dora has to carry an umbrella every afternoon when she collects me from school. It doesn’t matter if the sky is blue and the sun is shining because Bogotá suffers from unpredictable rain. Everyone could get soaking wet in a matter of minutes if they don’t open an umbrella. Today the rain falls like a really big shower, but the water from the rain is not the same as taking a shower or going into a swimming pool. I think the rain is dangerous because it falls on you straight from the sky.

I wished the iron Dora is using would break or that she would stop ironing right now. Then the rain might stop. Gazing out the dining-room windows, the downpour looks mighty powerful. People running in the street cover their heads with their jackets, newspapers or shopping bags, scrambling for shelter. They aren’t sensible people like Abuela: They don’t have umbrellas. From up here, the sensible ones look like dancing spider webs, mostly black but sometimes decorated with flowers or company logos.

The rain is getting even fiercer and a foggy curtain of millions of raindrops makes the colors outside look blurred. Only the brake lights from the cars stuck in traffic look brighter. It feels good to be inside my apartment. My home. I just wished I wasn’t on my own with Dora. She is like all the other maids in the past. For one reason or another, Abuela gets fed up with them and then finds someone else to do the chores and look after me in the afternoons. My real family – the people living with me – they’re always working. Abuela, Abuelo and Dad leave in the morning before I go to school. Mum used to be at home all day but since she left, she works in an office just like abuela. I only see her on weekends. Abuela and mum may be looking at the same rain from their office buildings right now.

The traffic in Bogotá gets worse with the rain, and Abuela may not arrive on time before Dora leaves at six o’clock. I might have to stay on my own. Bogotá is a big city and there are lots of cars, buses, motorcycles and trucks that break down when it rains.

What if the rain doesn’t stop and starts growing into massive rivers like the ones on television? Our building is only two storeys high and even though we are on the top floor, the news yesterday showed rivers covering houses and buildings.

I don’t mind the noise of the sky when it rumbles, but I know that if the thunder gets louder, Dora will have to disconnect all electrical appliances. The power may go off. I really hope that it doesn’t happen because I like my routine after school: I do my homework, eat my snack and wait until 4:00 pm to switch on the TV and watch Plaza Sesamo. Please God, stop the rain. I want to watch Sesame Street.

(…to be continued…)

Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent

January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)

February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)

March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)

May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)

June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)

July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)

August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)

September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)

October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

Background – Context

Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)

Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)

Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world

Credits (left side top to bottom, middle, right side top to bottom)

Bogota, Columbia – La candelaria 3 – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – La candelaria 2 – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – At the station – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – Black shadows – Nicolas Ladino Silva (Unsplash), Bogota, Columbia – The street – Mikhail Mokrushin (Unsplash), Bogota, Columbia – At home – Alex Mercier (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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