In Personal

Mrs Jeanne

September 18, 2004 - September 18, 2012

8 Years

Mrs Jeanne

This is the end of the world. No one could stop me to believe that, on September 18, 2004. This Saturday, I woke up very late in the morning. Still, I wanted to stay on my bed with that rainy day. The sky was dark, the rain dropped slowly but continuously. Several kids were running back and forth under the rain. My mom was excited to wash her clothes. It is a habit for women in Haiti to do laundry while it is raining. They say that water is coming for free, so you have got to take advantage of it.
   It was 5 PM. Yet, the rain didn’t want to stop. My neighborhood was blurred by the rain while I was watching on my window. I could hardly see what was going on in the street; but, I was pretty sure that no one was out there in that city where few people own a private car. Most of them walk to go where they want or take bus for farther places.
   The meteorologist had announced the passage of a Hurricane named Jeanne for the day. It had to come to the “ Departement de L’artibonite”, especially in the city of Gonaives. The population was aware of that. However, no such unended rain was expected. So, some people started to question themselves about the situation: it had been raining all day, sometimes heavy and then weak, but never stoping. Others just didn’t really care about that. They slept early with the hope of a beautiful sunny day tomorrow.
   I was part of those who started to worry about the hurricane; then, I decided to go to sleep. It was actually 7 PM. Suddenly, the phone rang. It was my friend Antonio on the phone with a scary voice. He asked me to leave the house with my family to go to a higher building because a river has taken his way through the city. I didn’t want to go anywhere until I heard, far away, people screaming. I couldn’t understand what was going on, but I convinced my family to leave the house in case of inundation. Our new shelter would be that big builder in the neighborhood.
   Quickly, we closed the door and moved to cross the street.  By the time to get in the middle of the street, the water had already reached my knee. Scared, we moved faster and got into the building. We were not the only ones to get there; other people were also looking for a safer place. However, several families stayed inside of their houses. They thought that no water could surpass the level of their bed. So, a better shelter was not necessary.
   A few minutes later, the atmosphere of the city was the same as a funeral ceremony. Cries and sobs could be heard by even a deaf person. The water had getting higher and stronger. Even those who knew how  to swim would have to face death.
   “Save me, save me” I was shaking when I heard that. Could that be people struggling in the water? I asked myself. The truth was too hard to believe. I could also hear the noise of the water like a strong wind coming all over the city. Everybody in the building started to cry. Some of them made their last confession. Would Hurricane Jeanne be that dangerous? Fear swallowed me. I thought that it was the end of the world; everybody was going to die.
I was actually on the second floor, and I could see through the lightning how the water had covered the top of my house. I was crying and praying. I said ,”God would you let us died?”
   Suddenly I heard a huge noise. It was the wall of the yard. The water broke it. I lost all my faith. I thought that since the wall of the yard has broken, the building would be next. I made my last confession and was ready to die.
   Quietly, the night ended and so did the power of the water. A new day had begun. A day that I had never seen in my life.  Dead people, broken cars and every other kind of trash were all over the street. The city looked completely different. Not only has the city changed but also my life. Since then, every Sep 18, i feel a weird feeling. I feel like crying, i feel like sharing my memories. That is why i m writing this note today September 18 2012.

                                                                                                                                          Princess Na 

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2 lovely comments:

  1. You made the account of this event so tangible, it's almost as if it just happened again. I can't begin to imagine how horrendous that must have been, even 8 years later. If there's one thing about us Haitians, it is our resiliency. I think perhaps because we are so strong and resilient, we tend to be stubborn. I wish more people had listened to the meteorological broadcasts and sought higher grounds. I'm glad you and your family were safe.
    I wonder how Gonaives looks now...

  2. It was so terrible, Jen, that i don't think i won't ever forget that day. And, yes Haitians are very resilient. After that hurricane, Haitian people are victim of much more horrible events (hurricane, earthquake, etc..)and still they stand.
    Gonaives looks a lot better now than it was 8 years ago. I wish more changes to come.


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