This storm is confusing me. On Wednesday night our phones and email inboxes blew up, receiving calls and emails from many parents inquiring whether school would be canceled after the Haitian Minister of Education closed all Haitian schools. Quisqueya stayed open yesterday, but is closed today. Yesterday about 20 or 30% of our kids were either kept home by nervous families or pulled out of school early as the sky darkened ominously. The rain began right as school adjourned, 3 pm.
I jumped in the Jin Bei van with 5 other teachers and made a last-minute "iron rations" run to the "nice" grocery store. It was a madhouse- the tiny parking lot was one-in-one-out. Everybody inside had money. As I bagged my Raisin Bran and powdered milk, I thought of those in tents. No pantries there.
It rained more heavily as the sun set, and continued to do so as we attended our weekly Thursday-night dinner-and-worship time with the other families on campus.
I guiltily enjoyed my pasta bake and hot tea, and then I guiltily ate the pint of ice cream we were afraid we'd lose when we turned off the fridge (in extreme power conservation mode, the only thing that stays on is the internet router), and then I guiltily settled into my warm, dry bed. 12 hours later.... it's not even raining?!
There is currently no wind and no rainfall at our home. The eye is still 100 or more miles away, moving this way at about 10 mph. My daily global intelligence email digest (MEDEX reports, check it) says 1 death is already attributed to the storm... but where is it? Is it not here yet? I read that Tomas has strengthened to a Category 1 and will continue to strengthen for the next 24 hours, with current sustained winds over 80 and gusts over 100 miles per hour. Is this the proverbial "calm before the storm"? How trite.
I've been told the northeast side of a hurricane is the "dirty side", and that's exactly where we are.... where are you, Tomas? Are you coming still? I had a conversation with a 10th grade boy yesterday about whether hurricanes or earthquakes are worse in the sense of having advance warning- would you rather be prepared, or does the waiting for disaster make you nervous and crazy?
I got a text this morning from Digicel, the Haitian cell phone company, saying: Ayiti anba menas siklon Toma. Si ou rete bo lanme, bo ravin oubyen bo rivye ale ak fanmi w yon kote ki an sekirite.
It means "Haiti is under threat (menace) of hurricane Tomas. If you life near the sea, a ravine, or a river, go with your family where it is safe."
Ben's gone to deliver a little grocery item to our friend who requested it from my grocery run yesterday. He's walking to her house. He took a camera, and a knife. We are waiting, and not sure what's going on, or what's coming next.