September 5th two days before the storm the sky was a beautiful blue and the seas was so calm it looked like ice; a huge mirror that you can just walk across.
I thought to myself it is always so beautiful before you see the ugliness of destruction that follows shortly after, I guess its mother nature way of softening the blow.
As I kept track of Hurricane Irma; we was warned she was heading straight for the Turks and Caicos Islands where she would be a category 5 hurricane with over 180 mph winds and storm surges from 15 to 20 ft high. My boyfriend Arvin and I got prepared for her arrival, we got all the food we would need, filled our car, got our gas tank for our gas stove filled, candles and flash lights. I packed an emergency bag and food bag just in case of evacuation, charge all our electronics and packed all our important documents in a plastic container.
Thursday September 7th now that we finally had everything done and our windows was all bored up it was now the waiting game. She was scheduled to arrive at 2pm, two hours later nothing much was happening so we decided to leave the front door open as power on the island was already off and it was hot and humid. By 6pm the winds picked up and we knew she was here and it was time for Irma to preform and dance to her own beat across the country; so we closed and barricaded the door.
The first 3 hours was not to bad all you could hear was the wind outside, Ive been through my fair share of hurricanes but never a 5 so I didn’t really know what to expect. To keep our mind off things Arvin and I played games, tell childhood stories or read a book. Between 9pm and 10pm the party really was getting started we heard things from the roof falling, trees breaking and the wind howling so loud my ears was starting to pop.(liked when your in an airplane)
By 11pm to 12am the winds was rattling the boards on the windows and with the sounds of things breaking I started to get a bit frighten. So I began to pray, once I was done praying I felt calm and at ease. So calm that I fell into deep sleep where I didnt hear anything anymore, and when I woke up it was after 4:30am and it was over.
Irma was now gone heading on her way to the Bahamas, I thanked God for answering my prayer and went back to sleep until about 7am. Through the cracks of the board I was able to see there was sunlight so Arvin and I put on some shoes and went to take a look outside. Broken trees and debrie everywhere, a huge hole in the apartment building roof near the front and the neighbors upstairs trying to get all the water our there apartments is what greeted us. We went around seeing if everyone was ok then we began to work cleaning up what we could.
Our apartment was speard from flooding and anything breaking thank God, so I started with the porch and Arvin got some tools to lend to the neighbors to help nail up some plywood over a few broken windows in other apartments. Once we did what we could we check the car which was fine and we went to go and checked Arvin’s Uncle place.
This was when I realized not much damage happened to our apartment complex compared to what I was seeing in from of my eyes. Gas Stations smashed, Business buildings crumbling, flooding, power poles down everywhere; snap like toothpicks, the whole roof of people houses gone.
I was in complete shock and wonder at the same time, the whole front of the Butterfield Church was caved in and that was a shelter. As we arrived at Arvin’s Uncle apartment everything seem normal as we walked up to the second floor, I thought why is it so bright up here; as I got near the end of the hall to see the whole back porch gone! Blown away; couches, tables, rugs blown away amongst the trees. Once we got inside Arvin’s Uncle apartment there was a little leakage inside but not much, Arvin’s uncle room was fine but his roommate room; well lets just say im glad they are in the Philippines for vacation because its not a room anymore.
With no power or running water on the Island of Providenciales, Arvin and I decided to go to the old movie theater complex where it was completely flooded to get buckets of water. This was used to flush the toilet manually so we didnt have no trouble using the bathroom. Arvin and I both grew up in the country side so our survival mode was kicked into high gear. The next few days we went around when we could, to check on family and friends to make sure everyone was amongst the living. I let everyone who wasnt in the country know of my safety via Internet through my data; but hearing nothing from my parents on the neighboring island was seriously stressing me out.
Finally after four days of continuously calling my parents phones I was able to reach my Dad; with relief came tears of joy and gaditude. With my parents being safe and my other family members being ok, it was now time to wait for power to turn on. As we were able to get running water 2 days after the strom from 6pm to 9pm and I was able to return back to work Monday September 11th.
5 days after Irma we had full running water and 10 days later my area in providenciales and a few others had power. Now its time to rebuild but first Hurricane Marie as she is heading straight for us, it is now round two of this dance with a hurricane. September is really being hard on us this year, but with these stroms that cause destruction; they are also a blessing that help to clean up our oceans and humble us human beings.
with all that being said, I am grateful for everything and I will see you guys on the flip side.