Thursday, February 04, 2010

Richter 6.1

We had several tremors that first day, a disturbing feeling. When one would occur, we'd suspend all activity and just wait. They never lasted all that long. But they certainly got our attention. When it would quit, we'd all look at each other and say, "Did you feel that?"

After the first day of seeing the sick and injured we were all completely pooped, both mentally and physically. We all took our turns taking frigid-yet-refreshing bucket showers, then took very little time collapsing into our dormitory bunks for the night.

At around 6 AM Wednesday morning we were still sleeping when Haiti's second earthquake (measuring Richter 6.1) struck, just eight days following the 7.0 magnitude first one. At some personal risk, mind you, I am going to share with you my own account of Richter 6.1 . . .

Not that I'm an expert in quakes and tremors, I knew IMMEDIATELY this was no tremor. Not only did the ground shake, but our building shook and it rumbled. In the 112 milliseconds it took me to spring from my bed, all I could think of was cinder blocks of this building falling down on me, just as they had on so many thousands of Haitians a week earlier. Usually a slow waker-upper, today I instantaneously converted. In the twinkling of an eye, I became a fast waker-upper. A very, very fast waker upper.

It was still dark. I don't know just how I could have reacted so quickly, but I jumped immediately out of bed and immediately started running toward the door. In hindsight I think I must have still been half asleep, or eyes not open, or both, because as accelerated toward the doorway I did not take time to notice that the doorway had a closed door in it.

My head and body impacted the door much like I imagine a right tackle hits his man across the line of scrimmage. Problem was, I wasn't wearing my helmet. BOOM. Everyone in the building heard my little encounter with the door above the noise of the earthquake. I fell, sprawling across a bunch of boxes that were stacked in the corner next to the door.

Somehow I picked myself up and staggered outside with everyone else. When the shaking stopped we had a good laugh (OK, so everyone else had a good laugh). Somebody said I reminded them of the YouTube video of that crazy sleepwalking dog. You decide (watch video).

I am still taking Motrin for neck cramps suffered from Richter 6.1 But what am I complaining about? They say that one Richter point represents the power of 10. That is, last week's 7.0 quake was almost 10 times as violent as this morning's 6.1 This is unimaginable to me. Though I am here to see its consequences, I still cannot imagine a 7.0.

God in Heaven, please calm the terrified nerves of these who went through ten times the terror I just did. They are still so afraid. They so need Your peace right now, as do I.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I apologize. After an OOOOOO, I did have to snicker a little.

Sheryl Smith