I woke up more times that I can remember last night. The temperature has dropped and I was cold. My kids were restless and woke up a lot too. The calm right now is eerie. We know it is coming. The slow speed of this hurricane is agonizing to wait for. My neighbors are starting to understand that this is no normal storm as I see them moving their belongings in wheelbarrows and trying to weight down their tin roof with rocks. They don’t understand that 100 mile per hour winds will just launch the rocks and rip the tin right off. I shudder to think of the devastation that is about to ensue all around me. Again.
The earthquake 6 years ago was sudden and we were caught off guard. I keep thinking how thankful I am to have the time to prepare. Yesterday I spent the day boarding up doorways, putting fragile items inside, and getting medical supplies handy and available. We have water, we have gas, and we still have phone and internet service for now. We pray that the equipment that our artisans use for their livelihoods will be spared.
Port au Prince will go through it for sure, but the poorer reaches of the south will be devastated beyond my imagination. People living in small mud huts, tin roofs and tin walls, and even some still in tents after the earthquake have got to get out and find a shelter with concrete walls and roofs. It is their only hope. The children and babies are so vulnerable. Parents not understanding the situation could easily not take the proper precautions leaving them vulnerable and terrified or worse.
The rain is supposed to be 24 inches. That water will come roaring down past me through the ravines, widening them into rivers and flooding any houses near the creeks. So many artisans that work in our shop live in these areas. I have seen it flood there before with a minor storm and can’t imagine what is about to happen just a block from my house. My yard also will flood. Every time it rains, we get about 6 inches of standing water in our yard. I am sure this will be measured in feet this time. We will wait it out on the second story floor and hope that the new school just under us also stays dry.
The phone company, Digicel, has made great efforts to warn people. The text messages are coming in telling people to move to higher ground and shelter in concrete buildings. The US Embassy has told us all it is too late to evacuate and to shelter in place. The airport is closed until Wednesday at least.
My mother is here with me. She had flown in for a wedding and has now gotten grounded here with me. I guess if you are going to be in a storm like this, it is nice to have your mom with you. The artisan house is open. It is a massive concrete structure that has withstood several hurricanes and the earthquake. We have put out the word that all artisans who need shelter can come and sleep there tonight. We hope they take this seriously and come.
My family is all safe. We will all sleep in the same room tonight with the one window boarded up. The wind will not damage our concrete home either and we will remain vigilant and alert to be able to help anyone and everyone who needs it tonight. May God keep us all safe.