Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
Grandma McLean sat under a huge shady tree in front of a metal bath pan washing in the early Monday morning sun. With a wide, pleasant smile, it was hard to believe she sat in front of the foundation that was left of her house, surrounded by all her worldly possessions.
Hurricane Sandy was harsh to 79-year-old Hazel McLean. Her entire house was completely demolished, leaving only the foundation it once stood on. As if that wasn't enough, McLean also suffered extensive damage to her farm, which included cassava, banana and sorrel.
Six days after the storm, everything she owned remained spread about the yard, still drying out, with not much left of her crop.
On Wednesday of last week, Grandma McLean was at home with her son, Lloyd McLean, weathering the hurricane. In the evening, her son left to check on the rest of the family who lived in a separate house on the same plot of land.
"After him gone me hear a voice just say to me, 'Come outta di house', so me come out and walk go up to me granddaughter house," she shared with The Gleaner.
"Me granddaughter look out and then she come sey to me, 'Me a guh tell yuh something but don't mek yuh pressure go up', 'cause me trouble with (high blood) pressure."
McLean looked out just in time to see the zinc roof flying off the rocking house. Shortly after, the wooden structure came crumbling down.
Tried to secure belongings
Family members tried desperately to secure the belongings, including furniture, appliances, television set, refrigerator, stove, clothing and other items, but almost everything was soaked and damaged.
"Since I live here over 50 years now, nuff storm come - Gilbert, Ivan, Flora, Dean, di whole a dem - and dis house never fall. Only di roof come off. Sandy just come leave it flat flat," she said, with a smile.
"Is true," chipped in her bright, smiling 11-year-old great granddaughter, Arianne Campbell, remembering stories from her late great grandfather. Her sister, Micah Campbell, five, held on to her, nodding in agreement.
Explaining their remarkably cheerful countenances amid such tragedy, the senior citizen declared, "Anything God flatten Him will build back, so why me a guh worry? God will take care of everything, man, Him will tek care of it."
At her age, she is now forced to start all over again, taking shelter with her granddaughter's family.
More than two hours later, as The Gleaner team began its trek back to Kingston, Grandma McLean was hanging out two lines of clothing to dry, still sitting over her bath pan finishing up her washing.