November 23, 2008

From Shaky Ground To Treading Water

Last week was like living in the Old Testament.

It wasn't enough to brave an earthquake, magnitude 6.2 . (My brother, Nicholas, informs this is 20 times the strength of the 4.2s he's felt in California!) This wasn't my first earthquake. I was,in factl, in Mexico for the Big One in the early 80s. But that in the olds day when nights were a trail of Tequila shots and mornings were a bee line for the aspirin bottle. So I slept through my first temblor.

Cut to now. New life, older me, different story. We were, at 1:10 a.m or so, awaken, shaken and rattled right down to our rebarb. It is impressive to have an entire cement block house moving under you, rumbling all around, walls and windows doing the Merenge. By the time you are shaken awake, you're half way through the event. By the time you realize what's happened, it's over. So the reality sinks in through collective recollection.

I had fallen asleep on the couch, recovering from a mild illness. I ran to Larry, who was praying it wouldn't get worse. "Oh it's an earthquake. Come to bed." I swear Larry wouldn't get ruffled if his hair were on fire! Was he kidding me? I made a dash for William, who was making a dash for me, so we nearly collided in the hallway. And into bed with Larry we all piled!

It turns out, most of my friends have their own earthquake stories, so that was fun to read about in subsequent emails.

But who knew that in the week would later be calling for a bona fide ark? Three days later the rains came! Living in a cloud forest, rain is a daily event. But this rain developed into a storm which turned our river into an angry, growing deluge, taking with it entire trees, homes, roads and bridges.

Some photos, for which I cannot take credit, are posted here. To view all the magnificant, daunting pix, copy this address into your web browser and click "go."

While almost all photos are within less than a mile from our home, we, the Slagles are High and  Dry. Sadly, we have friends and neighbors who will feel the affects for a long time to come. Hundreds of families are left homeless and needy. For some, their businesses and residences are standing, but their back yards and gardens have washed away. Others haven't fared as well and the condition of our bridges will have great bearing on the immediate future.

To wit: Our new bridge (see photos left) was scheduled for inauguration the day before the floods came after a year of waiting. Now it is likely that it will require reinforcements. Meanwhile, the alternate bridges has been seriously damaged or washed away entirely.

A bridge down always affects a community directly, seriously, and for some time.
Of course, we'll keep you posted, and after more than 9 months of life in Panama, we are concerned for what we now consider "our" community.

This blog invited you to "follow along with our Panama Adventure." How are we doing so far?

1 comment:

Mark Ballard said...

Is it the siting of your house that allowed you to stay high and dry?

This seems to be more adventure than this old codger could handle.

News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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