'I wish I died in the hurricane...' by Jessica Ballerstein

'I wish I died in the hurricane' were the words my mother's God-sister uttered, when asked how she was coping with Hurricane Matthew's aftermath. Devastation and chaos are understatements...

The town of Aux Cayes or Les Cayes for some was where a lot of the impact of Hurricane Matthew occurred. The hurricane effected my family first handedly. This was the town my mother grew up in. This was also the town generations upon generations of my mothers family lived 

When we heard news of the hurricane we warned everyone to evacuate. Some were able to get to higher ground but others ignored the warnings. Of those others, my grandparents were included. They didn't budge, due to their old school mentality of pure stubbornness to weather warnings (to be frank). During and after the hurricane they were literally the only two on my mind. Not to sound like I didn't care about my cousins and remaining family but due to their old age they stuck with me more. The possibility they wouldn't be able to outrun or escape a dangerous situation was anxiety inducing...

My Grandparents and baby sister in Les Cayes back in 2013.

My Grandparents and baby sister in Les Cayes back in 2013.


We were finally able to get word back of our families well being, a day after the hurricane passed. Despite my grandparents being in harms way, thankfully they informed us everyone was well. My grandmother was saved by family friends who came during the storm and got her to higher ground. Although we personally didn't suffer any casualties (by the grace of God) the community lost everything except for three houses in the whole town. One of the three houses is the house my mother had built a couple years ago. 


A stumble is not a fall...

-Haitian Proverb

Reynold, our family friend in front of where my grandfathers hut used to be. Mango was tree on the right side. 

Reynold, our family friend in front of where my grandfathers hut used to be. Mango was tree on the right side. 

   My aunt's home were one of the many homes that were vaporized in the hurricane. Nothing but sheet metal, articles of clothing to give evidence that there was a house in that spot.  My grandfathers hut, that I once referred as the ideal "Haitian man cave"; gone. The mango tree that was known to provide the best shade in the neighborhood, uprooted.



The beach known as Pointe de Sable was Les Cayes local hot spot. Allowing people to hang out under the palm trees, Haitian music in the background, drinking Prestige (A Haitian beer) while eating mouth watering fritaille (fried foods), such as: Griot (fried pork), Tassot (fried beef), banan peze (fried plantains) and many more, ruined. Hundreds of lives, lost. 


Despite all the all the anguish, and grief that came out of Hurricane Matthew, there were many things that brought my mother and I joy. One of the major things other than the great news of our family was that my mothers house was able to provide shelter to a couple dozen people. Although conditions are dire, people are shoulder to shoulder, we are thrilled we're able to have the ability to serve the community in that way.  

Port Salute Hurricane Matthew Aftermath (In Haitian Creole )

However I would still like prayer request for those who lost loved ones and their homes. Most people lost everything from family members to the little money they saved under their mattress. Now the real turmoils arise, with the cholera outbreaks, and possible famine. Keep the whole country in your prayers, rebuilding will be a long process but it can and will be done.


Many Hands Make The Load Lighter

-Haitian Proverb

If you plan on donating, please donate to the organizations listed in this article

L'union Fait La Force! (Unity Makes Strength!)