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  • On 28th October 2013, I made my way to the train station and saw the fallen trees that the storm the night before in the UK, left behind. It was not as violent as I have seen in my home island; yet four are dead and it is a sombre time.


    In July of 1993, my father sat on the small bench in the open garage, looking out to the west. He looked troubled and I left the window I was peering out of, to sit with him.

    "What is it?" I asked.

    "The winds are blowing in from the west. They only do that in March."

    Here we never question our elders and so I checked the kitchen drawers to ensure we had candles, batteries, torch light and masking tape.

    Later we went to the grocery and started to purchase canned food and made sure we had bottles and enough buckets to store additional water. We did not do this in one day. With the knowledge of our ancestors who listen and speak to our environment, we know when to start preparing.

    The wind speaks and we listen.

    The silence speaks and we listen.

    The crickets and frogs silence and we listen.

    The stillness and heat speak and we listen.

    The seagulls swoop inland and we pay attention. They only leave the seaside when there is trouble in open waters.

    It came on 7th August 1993 and when the thunder started, my mother told me to gently bound the baby's head with a cloth diaper to absorb the sound. I obeyed without question. These are not times to question, but act.

    The streets are barren. We dare not venture outside, especially not during the eye; for the tail end is the worse.

    We taped X across the glass louvres with the masking tape to prevent shattered glass from blowing in and moved into the room furthest away from the wind direction and I held the baby close to my chest. He did not cry but he sensed the gravity of our situation and remained as quiet as I have ever experienced a baby who is awake.

    Tropical Storm Bret passed and took the roof of our previous home with it; but thankfully we were left unscathed.

    My thoughts now lay with the victims and survivors of Typhoon Haiyan....the worst ever to hit land.
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