- from Panama Canal
Imagine joining a digging crew in Culebra Cut. By noon, the temperature is about 100°F, possibly 120°F, or even 130°F.
It’s humid – so humid that after it rains, steam rises from the ground and clothes become soaking wet. There is no shade, no air-conditioning, and no place to get cool. The average yearly rainfall is about 68 inches. But in 1909, one town in the Canal Zone reported a record 237 inches of rain. Flooding makes the ground like pudding. You can sink up to your knees in mud. Tropical diseases, such as yellow fever and malaria, are spread easily by mosquitoes. As one West Indian worker reported, “There was no shelter from the sun or the rain, see. There were no trees. . . . And when the sun shines, you get it. When the rain falls, you get it.”