The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

No Prob, Mon

We arrived in Birmingham around 10:30 last night from Kingston, Jamaica, all safe and accounted for. The local media has picked up this story, and today (the first day of classes for us at UAB's School of Public Health) we held a press conference for them. You will hear students interviewed (and read in the paper), and see some pictures tonight (Wednesday) on TV. But only here will you get the true inside story on how we survived hurricane Dean. The satellite view was from NOAA and the graphics were from AccuWeather.

Really, all the interviews are truthful, and we never felt that our lives were threatened by the storm because our hosts from UWI Mona were trained in hurricane preparedness as were many of the students. The higher ups were aware of the storm as it was approaching, and did try to make arrangements for us to leave, but counting the San Diego State students there were about 30 people to move, and it couldn't be done.

We were glad to stay and complete our work in Kingston. We will benefit from the experience of the field work, and we will benefit from experiencing a category 4 hurricane together. So I think our group will benefit from this course more than any group in the past.

I will post stories about the storm and our work over the next few days. People seem to be most interested in the storm, so I will start there.

I said we never felt threatened, but in truth, Red Stripe and Appleton Estates helped ease the anxiety as the storm approached and pounded down on us.

Customary it seems in the United States is to spray paint plywood or sheets with messages for the approaching storm. We were low on sheets and used no plywood, but I sacrificed a shirt for the cause. It must have worked, because something made Dean slightly change his course and stay off the coast, if only for a few miles.

The winds at UWI were estimated to be 100-120 mph. The noise was bothersome, and came in with unpredictable frequency, from winds building in intensity over about 4 or 5 hours, then maintaining high intensity for a couple of hours, followed by several hours of decreasing intensity with unexpected strong bursts. There was lots and lots of rain, I'm not sure how much, I haven't seen the reports.

The day after the storm we assisted a little in cleaning up the area around our part of the campus, and in the afternoon a group went out to Mona Commons, a community they had done some previous work in and assisted them with recovery. They also delivered several hundred dollars of school supplies that we had brought for that community. I will put some "after" pictures on here tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

This is great news! I've been posting updates at the Blues; I'll link to this right now. So glad you're safely home.

Susan F said...

Glad to have you home safe and sound!