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Dorothy Leevy
Dorothy Leevy

Sadly, we underestimated you. Your colleagues Irma and Harvey had showed no interest in us, so perhaps we had become complacent. However, no amount of prior preparation would have proved adequate to withstand your fury and vengeance.

How deceptive you were! You allowed us to label you a category three, and then, with lightning speed, you reared up and raced towards us to begin your deadly attack. The rest of the world, concerned relatives and friends saw, and were terrified. They called to warn us.

Your attack began on schedule. Your minions, wind and rain, took up your cause with great enthusiasm, and lashed out, your rain descending like weighted bullets on our roof tops.

Then came that sound reminiscent of your ancestor David, and which still has the power to send shivers through me – that creaking, grating sound, as you forcefully and brutally wrenched galvanize sheets off their nailed posts. The results were soon felt, and you caused us to scramble from one spot to another in the house, seeking dry areas.

Our granddaughter (named Maria), Alfred and I huddled on chairs in a corridor, feet under us, to avoid the water floating in their rooms. Alfred then went to the kitchen and spent some time battling with a window to prevent it from being blown open.

In the meantime, closed doors rumbled, rattled, shuddered, under the onslaught of your winds. You sadistically sucked in your breath, then expelled it with crushing force, similar to the ocean dragging water from the shore, then crashing on land, destroying everything in its path. Eardrums felt as though they would burst; the house seemed ready to be lifted in one minute, ready to be blown apart in the next. This one- sided battle seemed endless.

"Will it every stop?" my granddaughter cried, as she blocked her ears with her fingers.

Everything has an end, and your fury was soon spent. You could not prevent the sun from rising, and so, we emerged from our homes, or from what was left, at daylight. We stared in amazement at the unimaginable devastation around us. Houses all around were roofless or partially so. Twisted galvanize sheets, shards of glass, solar tanks, timber, electric and telephone poles were heaped on the streets and in every yard. It was almost a source of amusement that no one got his or her own blown away items. You showed no regard for private property, Maria. Did the trees protest as they were mercilessly shorn of their limbs and leaves? Did the aged and sturdy trunks scream as your minion wind snapped or uprooted them?

Did you enjoy the wail of the mountains, as you caused huge sections to be gourged our, disembowelling them?

It is no wonder that the cacophony you caused had some persons believing that they heard voices of demons.

Did you think you could keep us in the mud which many of us moved, literally, the first few days after your destructive visit?

The generosity, concern, co-operation of people were shining lights. You could not stop Julie from delivering her delicious smoked meat broth to her neighbours that first morning, nor could you hinder the super generosity of both Paul and herself to us and others. You could not prevent Curvin from sharing supplies he received a couple days after your rampage.

Are you frustrated, Maria, when you see the number of regional and international organisations which have come to help us? Are you disappointed at the progress we have made in cleaning up the evidence of your destruction? The initial chaos and confusion at the port can be seen as proof of the care, concern, and compassion of friends and relatives overseas who wanted to ensure that we did not starve, and so the boxes and barrels were arriving in quantities too vast to be managed efficiently in the early days.

It will take hard work, perseverance and determination to rebuild, to even begin, in some cases, but know that out of all the mud, debris, sheet rock, bent and twisted galvanize sheets, fallen trees, we will rebuild a cleaner, safer and stronger Dominica.

No friend of yours, Maria

Dorothy Leevy