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Gilbert Memories - 30 years later | 'Gilbert baby' still causing worry

Published:Wednesday | September 12, 2018 | 12:08 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Annie Reid

"Each time mi see mi son Tengsang, mi remember Hurricane Gilbert because I was pregnant and him born eight days after the hurricane," Annie Reid of Ocho Rios, St Ann told The Gleaner.

With the approach of the hurricane Reid was worried that she would be ready to give birth and would not have been able to make it to the hospital.

Reid rode out the storm without incident and, on September 20 she gave birth at the Port Antonio Hospital, which was also damaged by the hurricane.

"People tell me to give him name Gilbert but I said 'No, I'm not naming my child Gilbert," added Reid.

Now almost 30 years old, Tengsang still makes his mother worry.

"Well, Tengsang is just like the hurricane, blowing all over. He is the only child I have who do not keep steady," said Reid who was living with her family in Port Antonio, Portland when the hurricane struck.

She said her family was not looking forward to Gilbert as there was little they could do in terms of preparation.

"We did not really prepare. We neva really so rich fi prepare for everything like now, in this more modern time. I was living with my parents and they lived at two separate houses. Me, my mother and my sisters lived at the top house and my father lived at the bottom house.

"I remember the hurricane. It was in the day. The sun was shining at first but it looked dark over the sea. The main thing on my mind was, suppose I ready now to have baby, what would I do? I was scared."

The sun soon disappeared and Reid and her family locked themselves in as the storm approached and started battering everything.

"We were in our house, laughing at the neighbour because his house blow over and drop on our land. So while we were laughing, when we look, our house top blow off.

"Then my mother went away leave us as soon as she hear the breeze come in, she come out a di house leave us and went to a neighbour's house. I took my baby bag, that's the first thing I hold on to, and run towards the other house where my father lived."

That house suffered no significant damage, as it withstood the hurricane force winds.

Nobody in the family got hurt but all the fruit trees in the yard were blown down - grapefruit, banana, breadfruit, were all destroyed.