Hannah Clarendon: "House is not important, I have life"
Maria Story #21: By Carlisle Jno Baptiste
Hannah Clarendon lives near the Lourt Bord Ravine in Pointe Michel. In all her life, she says, she had not witnessed that ravine so angry and destructive as it raged during Hurricane Maria on 18 September 2018. The ravine swept away part of her back yard but, luckily, her house was spared.
"Maria was just fast and furious…I thank God for seeing me through it while others are still struggling. I count myself as being blessed. . When the wind came, it ripped through the house and not much you could have done, given the quickness that it escalated, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5," Clarendon said.
She said she was alone for some time but she kept in touch with her sons and nephew on WhatsApp and also posting what was going on Facebook.
"My nephew, in Barbados (Dr. Lafond) told me to seek shelter while my sons told me hanker down where you are, make sure you have water, you have food and you are covered. Then Sammy (my neighbour) called and said 'we are coming to get you' and with that I said 'okay' and he and his brother physically escorted me to their home," she said.
Clarendon said she was still in contact with her nephew and so she informed him of her whereabouts so that he would not be searching for her.
"It was while at Sammy's house I started to hear the sounds of the ravine nearby which was raging. Now all the time I was only hearing the winds blowing and I started to hear the ravine, it was also at that point that Sammy told me that my roof had gone and they had seen it blown away," Clarendon said.
"They also saw the coconut tree in my yard go and this told me then that the ravine was far up in my yard…I was therefore comforted at not being home, alone, but being in the house with Sammy, my neighbor, and his brother," she said.
She continued: "It was now well past midnight and the wind was howling while the ravine raged as it brought with it some huge stones. By 3am I heard voices calling me looking to see if I was safe, it was Edgar (Edgar Peltier) and a few friends. I left with them to my house to see the damage. I did not stay but went back to my safe shelter at Sammy. More help came my way at 5am, Joey Peltier and his daughter. I left and went with them.
"Although I had to move to safety I can say that I was never alone since I was in constant contact with family and friends and had their support and encouragement. My sister came up two days later, after she walked all the way, looking for me since we had no means of communication. I then got help with a young man who guided me to Loubiere before I was allowed to go on my own," Clarendon said.
"I lost my roof and my house was severely damaged; thank God I was not in the house; I am now covering and have been at my sister's place in Goodwill for the past nine months. But I can tell you, that I walked away and never thought that I would have ever returned back to the house again…It's not easy," she said.
"House is not important, I have life. All my paintings have gone but I was able to salvage a few mementos from my grandchildren. Mesania Harris was a tower of strength; she cleaned and cleared for me and saved me the stress. I did not have to deal with it first hand and for that I am thankful and eternally grateful to her.
"I was also able to salvage a Bible given to me by Bishop Bowers. It was a very important item to me and his signature and hand writing stayed intact and I am very happy to have saved it. This was very precious to me and the little stuffs from my grand's as keep sakes. You can buy pots and pans but not the mementos. There is preparedness for Maria and there was also a lack of. I was prepared for the other storm but not Maria."