Hurricane Irene Aftermath

On Thursday August 24th at 3AM
Hurricane Irene, a category 3 hurricane that lasted 26 hours, hit Eleuthera
Island. The first part of the storm came off the Atlantic and during the eye of
the storm around 8:15 AM we walked outside to survey the damage. At this point
in the storm, things looked pretty good. Mike climbed up on the roof to check
the plywood that was covering our solar panels, he found that the clips needed
tightening, but that was about it. At 7:45 AM the next part of the storm began
to rage, and it was coming off the Caribbean, in front of our home. This time
the wind was much stronger and sounded much scarier. We began to see from the
one un-shuttered window at the back of our house, shingles and tar paper
blowing over the house. We were praying that the roof would hold and the
plywood would stay on! We knew that many of you were praying for us, and we
were praying too!

There wasn’t much we could do since we had lost power the previous
evening. Lydia and I were in her room working on some school work for as long
as the computer battery would allow us, and Mike was napping in our bedroom.
The noise did not bother him, he was exhausted after spending the first part of
the week boarding up our facilities, the clinic and people’s homes in the
community.

The wind was getting stronger and stronger and then it began to rain, as
the rain came down it was pouring into the front of our house. I went to the
bedroom and told Mike to get up! He and the dog were sound asleep even thought
the rain was dripping from the ceiling all around them! We then began to move
all of our furniture to the back of the house. We then spent the next 12 hours
taking turns mopping up the water to keep it from coming to the back of the
house.

Following the hurricane help soon arrived! Paul Voss, Director of CMA,
flew down to bring supplies and tarps. He was only with us for the day, but was
able to assess the damage and assist us in getting the tarp on our house, so
that we would stay dry until the roof repairs could be completed. Still more
help arrived, for the following 2 weekends we hosted 2 teams of 5 guys that
assisted us and others from th community to strip and re-shingle our much
damaged roof. We replaced half of the roof and used 60 bundles of shingles! The
2nd team was also able to work in the community to replace a roof
that had to be replaced.  This was the
home of an elderly Haitian couple that had neither the resources or the ability
to do the work.

There are many roofs that are still under tarps, Mike and our good friend
and colleague Martin Gaitor put tarps on at least 50 roofs, and people are
still coming to us after rainstorms, with a need for a tarp. There is still
much work to be done!

*Anyone interested in donating money, supplies or volunteering, can
contact CMA at 423-894-2827.

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