Anastasia Cunningham,News Coordinator
FIFTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD Corena Stewart never saw Hurricane Sandy coming. In fact, she never even expected a hurricane.
No one could have convinced her that the home she had, which weathered so many hurricanes, would now look like a rubbish heap with clothes strewn across the pile, most of her possessions washed away in the gully below.
Sitting by the side of the main road in Grange Hill, Portland, on Tuesday afternoon labouring over a bath pan of wet clothes, 'Chick', as neighbours call her, had been out washing "little-little" from last week Thursday.
It's the only way she could think of to "calm down mi brain".
"Sandy mash up mi brain. Mi tun fool from it happen. Mi not even know how mi a guh come back inna mi right sense," she shared with The Gleaner, taking a break from her laundry on Tuesday.
WORSE THAN EXPECTED
Last Wednesday, Stewart was at her little shop attached to her two-bedroom house, situated right on the main road, frankly, just expecting some rain and breeze from "something mi hear 'bout".
"Mi neva a look fi nuh hurricane, yuh nuh. Me hear people a talk, but me neva see it as nothing. Di news not even report it good. Dem mek it look like a one little thing a guh pass we," she said.
She continued: "Mi go inna mi house when di rain come down fi look fi some things. When mi look, mi see the rain come down hard and the breeze just come sudden. Everything just come down pon mi sudden suh and mi couldn't move.
"A crawl mi affi crawl out and all cut up mi hand a try come out."
Stewart managed to dash across the road to a neighbour's house. Later, after the Category One hurricane had passed, she emerged and almost had a "heart attack" when she saw the complete destruction of her home and little shop.
"Mi guh look fi try save what a can, but almost everything wash gone down in the gully. Mi papers dem wet up, furniture mash up and … just look. Yuh can see fi yuhself. Mu stop look 'cause mi can't find nothing - nothing at all," she lamented, holding her head.
"It tough. I don't know which part fi start. Mi don't know what a go happen fi me now," except, she said, to work with her common-law husband, Linval Kenton, to rebuild.
As The Gleaner team made its way out of the devastated parish, Chick returned to her makeshift stool in front of her tub of wet clothes, once again getting lost in the only relief she could find.
Portland was among the eastern parishes of Jamaica hit the hardest by the hurricane.