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Hurrican Dennis

By Brenda - 2005

Hi.. I was actually in Trinidad and experienced Hurricane Dennis on July 8th... the day that I and my cuban novio were to be married. We were evacuated from La Boca "Casa Capatain" in the evening on July 7th as the entire village was told to leave (including home owners) . Luckily we had all of the food and drink for our wedding and we took it all to my novio's home in Trinidad ... Many family members from the country had arrived at the home to weather the hurricane. I think that having seen many hurricanes in the past via CNN and the weather channel actually made me the only one that was actually believing that a hurricane could make a big mess.

The night before I told my boyfriend that he should be taking all of the lumber off the roof etc. but I really do not think that anyone would believe that the eye of the hurricane would actually pass over Trinidad.

We went to bed (first time for me in the house as I had never stayed there because I had never had a family visa). We were awoken at 6:45 Am by a loud speaker telling that the hurricane would soon be there, to prepare and take cover... It was raining (but not heavily) as the lumber was taken from the roof and everything prepared at the house. Luckily we had the car to go to the market and get more food for our house guests.. There were hundreds of people buying food and rushing about...

By this time the winds had picked up and it was pouring rain.. We went to my brides maids home and told them we would postpone the wedding (hahaha) and helped them get some food for the house. We were back at my boyfriends by 8:30am.. By this time the wind was constant but not too strong and the rain was unbelievable..
There was a rapid river running on the street and downhill infront of the house.. As my boyfriend and his mom prepared some breakfast, I was in the front of the house with some other family just playing dominos, still with the shutters open and waving at the neighbors across the "river" as they waved at us...

At about 10 am we saw the neighbor's garage blow apart and had to shut the windows.. By 1030 am then entire force of the wind was over Trinidad. It was hitting our home from the front and my boyfriend quickly dismantled a wall unit and we hammered support on nails into the front door and windows . His 2 brothers were supporting the door and I had my back to one window and grandpa to the other.. It was like poltergeist...

They were just a pounding.. This was the only time I was frightened.(then we got into our wedding beer and rum). Just after the front was secured his mom was yelling from the kitchen at the back of the house and we heard crashing. The neighbors 50 ft avocado tree came through the 10 ft brick wall into our back yard..

The wind was strong for hours but we were lucky to have guitars, rum, food and made a wonderful party out of the time.

My bridemaid , however was not having as much fun on Calle Colon.. They were 10 people in one small bedroom on an upper floor.. They could see trees being lifted and many homes loosing their roofs. Also crashing in their house as a brick wall had fallen in. By 5pm my boyfriend thought he had better go upstairs and check our appartment in the house. He and his best buddy (with his mom saying no) went outside in the wind and upstairs.. I waited and waited and then finally at 7 pm (with his mom saying no) , I went upstairs in the wind.... They were in the back sitting playing guitars and drinking rum... A true cuban way to get through a 4 star hurricane.

They had been mopping water for 2 hours.. We had metal shutters at the front, but the wind and gusts had been so strong that water had sprayed all over our bedroom and living room.. He had plugged the windows but we still had water spraying in. So I took alot of cloths, towels and bedding and plugged the windows. I mopped water until it was time to try to sleep.. I was like camping in a tent after 3 days of rain. So humid and damp.. The wind howled like a canadain winter.. ALL night.

The heavy rain and some wind lasted until 3pm on Sunday July 9th.. Then the cleanup began....

It was so damp and humid.... We took his cousin, wife and baby closer to their home of Magua and were able to see the flooding of all the small creeks and rivers towards Sancti Spiritus.. All of the telephone poles and hydro poles were down along the highway for miles and miles. Big 500 year old trees, including the strong sabre trees were uprooted or broken in pieces.. Nearly every tree in Trinidad was gone.. If you did not have a flat roof then you had trouble.. Either damage or no roof at all... My best friends (who I am god mother of their 7 month old) had lost their roof and the house was a mess. Unfortunately they do not have the papers for the house so they can not get a "free roof" from the government... Good God who give a hoot about papers.. Just come by and see the house has no roof and give them the 20 dollars worth of tin to fix the stupid thing.
Anyways about 6 pm our friends and owners of the beautiful bed and breakfast at La Boca came by and said that everything was ok at their house. Unbelievable... They did not even get water in the house.. Flat roof, good shutters and the luck that the wind had hit them land side and had blown the ocean away from the house..
Unfortunately for the village of Castilda the wind had hit them from the ocean. A direct hit.. 80 percent of homes destroyed.. The church crumbed in the main street... I found a web site with some photos..

You can look at We were able to go to Ancon Beach on Sunday afternoon.. What a mess. Hotel ancon and Trinidad del mar were smashed. The beach would make you cry. (if you had not cried enough after seeing Castilda) The beautiful trees were torn out by the roots and many had even blown 100yds. The beautiful white sand was black and the water dirty.. People were laying on the beach and swimming.. UGH. The streets of Trinidad quickly filled with debris as people removed their trees and damaged yards and homes. SOme streets were blocked. We found our lawyer and he came to the beach with us on Monday morning and we were married in our old clean up the hurricane cloths.. The yard was full of fishermen with bountiful catches.THe most fish they had been able to catch in years. La boca was a mess.. Trees down, the big night club destroyed. Damage to homes.. Mainly roofs. The 2 seaside restaurants towards ancon were destroyed. We drove to Santi Spiritis on Monday. Much damage to the crops and power lines. As we got closer to Santi Spiritis the less damage.

They even had power. We went on to Santa Clara.. they had power, and telephone but the water was not working. We came back via Cumanaagua and Manicaragua.. Not too many problems but when we hit the highway from Trinidad to Cienfuegos we saw the true power of the storm..
All the homes either severely damaged and destroyed. The power lines (poles) down on the highway.. All the seaside beer stops were gone. THe restort of Yagu..... whatever the name entirely destroyed. WHAT A MESS> T
He shrimp factory looked highly damaged.. The entire 40km looked terrible. Trees, homes, everything a mess... I was surprise how fast the lines were actually being repaired.. The phones were restored in Trinidad by Thursday and to La Boca on Saturday the 23rd.

I had emails from Casa Capatain at la boca yesterday as they have a generator in the house.. power for a computer and the phone for the internet. The power in Trinidad is expected to be restored today Sunday the 24th. THat is when I think there will be some deaths as there were so many hydro lines down everywhere.. Someone is surley to get electricuted once they turn the power on.

Those poor people.. 20 days without power with the heat and no refridgeration.. Anyways .. Things will be ok.. and yes.. now they do believe in hurricanes.
It was the old people who gave dramatic stories of the storms.. People who had seen storms all of their lives but never the "big one" Anyways our marriage has started with a bang and hopefully will be stronger for what we have gone through together... I hope you enjoyed this..


















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