Jules Joseph: "My Brother, it was rough"
Maria Story # 8: By Carlisle Jno Baptiste
Jules Joseph and his nephew Sylvester Joseph shared an apartment in Loubiere where they operated an art & craft business place called Green Eye Production; tourists were their main clients. Hurricane Maria destroyed Green Eye Productions when water and wind from the category-five storm battered the island on 18 September 2017.
Jules Joseph said he will always remember that "dreaded day".
"Everything was nice or at least started out nice. We were home doing our art & craft," Jules told the SUN. "The evening came…it was around 7pm and things just started to change. We heard about a category 2 then 3 hurricane and then suddenly it was category 5 and since it was already late night and we had nowhere to run to, we decided to shelter the storm downstairs and it was there we heard rumblings
"Is like the Father just sent a message as the water flowed and we were trapped inside. My Brother we took that for a couple of hours and to tell you the truth, the only things that I could have uttered during that ordeal was to call on the Lord Almighty Jah Rastafari. All night that was my prayer. At one point, my son asked me 'Daddy, are we going to die?' and I said 'no let's just hold strong."
"My Brother, it was rough and terrible hearing the sounds of the river raging and into our house and the stones banging on the walls and eventually we heard the children screaming and then we never heard them anymore…
"At one point we decided to go back to the kitchen but then we decided against it as more and more logs, stones and all kinds of things made its entry where we were. We were in search of an outlet to escape and eventually we found a small space through a door which led us to a porch and into the kitchen of my sister and then into another house at the top and for the entire time is wind, rain and dirt. But we give thanks to the Almighty God that we are alive that's why we call ourselves survivors of Hurricane Maria."
During the storm, Jules said, he lost his roof and he was in the process of trying to get back upstairs when he realized that something was not right since everyone who was downstairs was not upstairs. Then he asked: "where are the two girls?" And their mom said "they gone."
"Brother, to tell you the truth I burst into tears. That's why I made the song "Don't Tell Me That I Cannot Cry" because I know what I felt inside. We then got the body of one of the girls and we had to carry her on our shoulder to be buried in Pointe Michel.
"It wasn't easy Brother; we met people on the way who told us to try and get a boat. We looked but there was none available. It was sad and heart breaking. We give thanks to God for giving us the courage and strength to hold on strong.
"I was dazed after that entire event; it took me three days to get back to planet earth. I witness Maria and I can tell you it was not easy and I beg those who are not yet on planet earth to come down and begin to plan their journey.
He said that the yard was filled with art and craft before Hurricane Maria but after the passage "all that was gone."
"I only remain three pieces from what I had but we are not going to let go. I lost all it's a new beginning for us," he said.
Sylvester, who lost two of his children during the storm, said: "We were all downstairs and decided to go upstairs thinking it was safer since the water was raging; there were no lights, we could not see. However, my girlfriend and I were able to push two of them through a window and then a step collapsed and fell on me. The two girls were on the step. I had to struggle to survive and get myself free. Only God made me survive and when I did I realized that two of my girls had gone when the step collapsed. I spent days in hospital and had to even get counseling because it had been heart breaking for us".