On September 18, 2017, we were home. Harry and I were enjoying having our family, Renatta 27 (our adapted daughter), Miriam 21 (our daughter) and Ben 18 (our son) and their friend Serena from London with us. We had weathered Hurricane Irma a few days earlier unscathed and had collected relief for friends in BVI and Martin.
We were prepared for a few days of interrupted utilities and tinned food. We had brought things in off the verandah. We have a two story building and so felt safe in our downstairs home. We played cards by lamplight and hoped the reports that Maria was strengthening and heading for us were inaccurate.
We could hear the wind howling and water was coming in under the door we moved the furniture and got mopping! I noticed water coming in round every little pane of glass in the paneled door.
Suddenly the back door exploded o to pieces and flying glass and wood flew across the room towards Miriam. I sheltered Serena against the fridge! Ben, such a hero, took her from me and bundled us both into his room and reached Miriam covered with tiny pieces of glass and pushed us all into an inner bedroom to meet Renatta. His door slammed. Then I realised Ben was not with us .
I don't know what came over me but I ripped that door apart! My boy was holding the double doors closed against the howling wind. "Mum! Mum! Take my TV" no time to argue, I grabbed it off the wall and dumped it on the bed in our dry room. Only then would he leave the doors and what was a tornado churning the kitchen appliances and leaves and even the popcorn ceiling covering, into a liquidized mess.
Harry appeared, having been nearly blown away through the front door when the house became a wind tunnel. We held the doors and tended to Miriam's cut leg and banged head. It could have been much worse. Blood makes everything scarier! I was not sure that she had not cut a blood vessel! I used Harry's handkerchief to make a tourniquet.
The eye came and Ben and Renatta ventured into the kitchen and found the dogs and Kitten, first aid box and food! We had No idea how long we would be stuck in that room. The wind started up again and I covered the window with a blanket lest it burst too.
The bleeding from Miriam's cut stopped and I dressed the wound as best I could. We had the devices in a suitcase. Water was coming in under the doors. Time crawled. It was only 10pm. Would life ever be the same?
By 2am the wind had stopped and I saw lights flashing outside at 3.00, it was the police in Batman capes, probably checking the Minister of Public Works next door. We had no doors! "Officer, over here! We’re here. Five of us; one hurt." Stay put, don't venture out until daylight, was the advice. His name was Mason. He brought reassurance that we were not the only ones left alive.
At daylight we saw our place was trashed. A broken window was patched and taped with black gaffer by Harry in the middle of the drama. Broken glass from photos and windows was all over the floor in inches of water with chopped up leaves. Where did the dirty sand come from? OMG the cat litter tray!!!!!
Every tree in the garden was torn up! A small chicken was mortally wounded! The car and truck were scratched and dented but basically Ok. Next doors windscreen smashed. The galvanized roofing from the roof was a hundred yards away and the front door in the drive. Telegraph poles and wires and debris were blocking all the roads. People were emerging dazed! The place usually so lush and green. Bald! Literally it looked as though a bomb has exploded leaving almost every house roofless....
I had to get Miriam to the hospital expecting half a dozen stitches. We negotiated all the barriers and met the Prime Minister inspecting the damage. At casualty, which was under six inches of water, we were told that it was safer not to stitch after 12 hours and to give her antibiotics and dress every two days. Hmmmm! I was panicking about infection but have three days’ supply of pills.....
I found the High Commission satellite phone which does not really hold charge and tried to call Barbados from a vantage point in a fallen tree. “We are alive! ......No, everything is Not OK.”
Lifeline Ministries Dominica
3 Munro Street
Goodwill / Roseau
Commonwealth of Dominica
Tina Alexander, Director
Tina Cell: 767-235-8367 (also What's App)
Office Cell: 767-275-8367