Turning on my phone in the morning, the first messages I saw on Whatsup read “Is everyone alright?” “Are the students okay?”, My heart immediately started racing so much so that it was hard to breathe normally. Having experienced an earthquake just about a week before, the first thought that came to mind was that “something has definitely happened in Mexico City.” I immediately went on google and the first headline I saw was that an earthquake had just occurred in Mexico City. Knowing the kind of parents I have and how worried they would be, I called them as soon as I could, narrating the situation to them and letting them know I was fine. At this point I still thought it was just the normal earthquakes that we get every now and then, well I was completely wrong this time.
Watching the news on CNN later that day gave me the shock of my life, images from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake were hard to stomach. For the very first time since living in this beautiful country, I watched how buildings collapsed and how helpless people were during the sad event. I even watched how a school collapsed killing little students and teachers. Those images just left me wondering the confusion that must have spread over the whole country on that sad day. Thankfully, my sister Inlove and her family were okay, which gave us some relief. However, as days went by, the death toll began to rise and the number of people who had lost their homes increased significantly.
On my way back to Mexico, I couldn’t wait to see how the city was recovering after this disaster and I also couldn’t wait to get into my apartment to see if their were any damages. The drive home from the airport was a long one due to my anxiety and curiosity. Well, when I got to my street, I could hardly recognize it as the whole street was blocked as a result of two high rises that have been badly damaged by the quake. As a city that is almost always bubbly with parties going on everywhere on the weekend, the silence made me very uncomfortable. Since I arrived at night, I didn’t get a clear picture of the damage the quake had done to buildings in my neighborhood so I had to wait till the next day to really figure out how things were around me.
The next day, I took a walk around my neighborhood and that was when I realized how bad it was; chipped walls on almost every building, police all over the place, parks that have been turned into shelters with tents where the homeless could at least lay their heads at night, families sleeping in the open with all their property and having to depend on well wishers and good samaritans to bring them food, sad Mexican musical instruments playing in the background.
As I strolled in a park close to my house which has been converted into a shelter, I couldn’t believe how quickly living conditions could change, people who were once owners of homes were now homeless and completely dependent on the help that came from the public. I met Alfredo and his wife Norma who told me they had been sleeping outside since the shelter doesn’t accommodate the crowd of people that needed a roof over their heads. Through the sadness and tension, what gladdens my heart is that Norma is a Christian, so she and her family have been encouraging themselves in the Lord. After saying a word of prayer with them, I told them I would return to check on them later in the day. When I went back to see how they were doing, Norma told me that she was able to contact her friend who offered them a room in her apartment!!!! God really does wonders!!! I’m really glad to have met them and I’m even happier that they don’t have to sleep outside in the cold anymore, and my prayer goes out to as many families as are homeless right now. I also pray for God to heal this land and bring restoration.
I have really been touched by how much Mexicans love each other, everyone is eager to provide help in one way or the other. Having lived in this country for five years, I have learned a lot about Mexicans but this natural disaster has made me see the solidarity they have and how much they care for each other and their country.
Have you ever experienced an earthquake? How did you feel?