February 16, 2017
Ten months ago, a subtle 4.8 ‘bump’ gave no fair warning of the 7.8 nightmare that would soon turn Ecuador’s northern coastline upside down. No one suspected that in ten minutes, they’d be scrambling for safety as the earth rolled in spasms and tossed people across rooms like a cat toying with a mouse. From Catholic News.com story about Jama, “The ground moved like waves on the ocean,” he recalls, while a pall of sulfurous-smelling haze rose over the town.”
Over the months, various people described that terrifying minute and its after effects:
“My sister was outside, and she wrapped her arms around a light pole and hung tight until it stopped.”
“From the upstairs window it looked very black to the north, and then the house started shaking. I ran to the kitchen and turned off the gas.” She choked back tears and told how the house rocked back and forth before starting to fall.
One man described how the earth pulled apart and a geyser of black water (?) shot skyward behind his shattered home.
“I don’t know how I got out alive. Things were falling, crashing, and I had to crawl…”
“I reached town, and everyone was gone. I did not know where they were.”
“There was a tsunami warning, but I first checked on my parents and then went to the hills. We spent the night on the hillside.”
“We swam across the river to get to town.”
“Thieves stole from the pharmacy after we left for the tsunami warning.”
“We were too scared to go back inside. We sat in the street until morning.”
“Look; I lost everything. I don’t have any clothes.” she frowned at her hand-made blouse and shrugged.
“Lee-sah!’ One person called from the far side of the street yesterday. A look of desperation bled through his attempted smile. This man with the perpetually-happy personality seemed broken; he explained that his family was still living in a tent, and he was concerned about providing food for them.
I’ve been working on posts to share stories of different people who have opened their hearts and invited me into their make-shift homes. Two posts will follow today, and more as time permits.
Thank you in advance for reading with an open and loving heart.