Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
COTTON PIECE, St Catherine:
DURING HIS lifetime, Ferdinand Clarke of New Road in Cotton Piece, St Catherine, has experienced many hurricanes. But the 92-year-old, who lost his sight two years ago, said Hurricane Sandy was the worst he has seen.
"I lie down pon mi bed and a hear di little drop pon di house, and I know it was rain, so I shut de window. Likkle after dat, I hear pan-nap, pan-nap, pan-nap," he recounted to The Gleaner.
Clarke, who is from Faith's Pen in St Ann, said after he placed a basin in a section of the house to catch the water leaking in, he returned to bed.
Soon the wind began blowing. As the wind blew harder and harder, Clarke, a carpenter in his younger years, said he feared the worst and had one wish.
"Mi sey, 'Lawd, beg yuh fe save mi roof', and den mi hear di breeze gwan wid a ting, and mi hear like piece a di roof pop off," the senior said, gesticulating.
But he was not alone during the passage of Hurricane Sandy. In fact, eight other family members share the house, which Clarke said he built during the 1960s.
"When I heard that we would be getting a storm, I was expecting some rain. I was expecting the house to leak," explained Annette Howell-Brown, his granddaughter and caregiver.
She added: "I was cooking and in the height of it, the gas finished, and then I started using some coal. The wind took off the kitchen top first, and I had to run lef the pot on the fire."
But that was the beginning of what Howell-Brown described as the most frightening experience of her life.
"My two children were in their room doing homework and my grandfather was in his section. When I look, I see the wind lift off the roof," she explained.
"I hear the wind howl and the roof just lift off and my mother grabbed me and my brother," Beyoncé, a grade-six student, interjected.
It was Howell-Brown's husband, Junior, who carried her grandfather on his back to their neighbour's house after the roof was dislodged.
Some of the children's textbooks, furniture, mattresses, clothes and other items were drenched.
Howell-Brown she said she believes God had something in store for them.
"I trust God, and if He allows the roof to come off, He will allow us to get it back on. We need a house urgently because this one is really in a terrible condition. I believe God will provide a way for us," she asserted.
Until then, her husband's friend, Carol Morrison, a mason and carpenter who lives in the nearby community of Orangefield, assisted in replacing the roof.
"Helping your neighbour, your friends in times like these is very important because we all are one. We have to look out for each other," Morrison told The Gleaner.