We evacuated Nassau to the Florida Gulf Coast ahead of Hurricane Matthew. We came home Sunday.
The short version? Nassau and New Providence were greatly spared. No deaths related to the storm were reported. So much worse was expected. We thank God.
The long version? Wow. It’s so much worse than I expected, based on the positive reports I had when gone.
It’s all about expectations.
We expected devastation from Hurricane Matthew. So we are thankful it wasn’t. I expected to come home to “not so bad,” but it is bad. Friends have it worse than we do. And it landlord is taking care of repairing the damages to our home and yard.
Much of our fencing is down. Some parts just torn off, others have wooden posts split in half.
Shingles litter the yard. That’s expected — they’ve been coming off even in normal rain storms.
Broken glass of a type and color I didn’t even realize were on our windows are on the back patio. Lots of damage to the roof and attic dormer windows — I think that’s where the glass is from.
Splintered wood is piled up in the yard from the initial clean up. The biggest tree in front of the house has already been taken away. The royal palms in the front are fine. The avocado tree is down.
Two ficus trees flanked the entrance sidewalk. One is gone and the other use on its side, roots in the air. I assume that means the landlord thinks it can be salvaged and replanted.
The white rose bush which always looked scraggly but grew beautiful roses is gone.
I can see in my neighbor’s backyard, for the first time. The vegetation on both sides and privacy fence are down.
There are workmen on our roof and in the attic, whether we are home or not. They have ladders from the roof to the balcony to the ground. They haven’t asked to come in, but they could come in even without asking if they wanted to.
Part of the wall along the stairs to the attic has tumbled down completely. The ceiling in an upstairs bathroom crumbled down completely.
And yet, it really isn’t so bad.
I have family in New Orleans. When we visited a year after Hurricane Katrina, I was shocked at how bad things were driving through the city. My grandparents had to replace everything on the first floor, and the walls were still torn out downstairs when we visited. A full year later, and he was still washing dishes in the laundry sink and had card tables set up as counters because the kitchen wasn’t completed. We stayed in my brother’s FEMA trailer. I know it really isn’t so bad here.
But it is hard coming back to the chaos after the storm. It is hard knowing that we have it easy, when so many others have it much harder.
Eat the Weeds is a cool site, which I’ve referenced frequently since moving here. Like in Ukraine, people in Bahamas forage quite a bit. The other day dropping off a friend at the airport, I saw a woman picking a couple of coco plums in the parking lot and popping them in her mouth on her walk to her car.