Some of you may have heard that we had two more significant earthquakes yesterday. The first one woke me up just before 3:00 a.m. and I laid there for the longest time, waiting to see if it would get better or worse. It reminded me of how the first earthquake started, and I felt like I was in limbo forever before it finally began to subside. I was thankful when it was all over and I went to look for Charcoal, that she was right outside my room at the top of the stairs and not under the guest bed. I noted the time so I could check the earthquake site the next morning and later learned that it was a 6.6 quake in the same general northern part of the coast as the original. It lasted around 15 seconds (which is a long time when everything is shaking!)
Later in the morning, I went with my friend Sigrid to meet Edwin, his wife and father at the home of Galina & Robert (another couple that was involved in the fundraising campaign). We had a wonderful time together, and Edwin once again expressed his profound gratitude that he would receive such help from so many people that didn’t even know him. He said once he realized the damage to his car after the earthquake, he knew it meant a loss of his livelihood. He had no idea what he would do, but he trusted God would provide for him and his family. He gives God all the glory, but is abundantly grateful to those of you who gave. He has been searching for a vehicle and Lord willing, hopes he has found the right one, but there are a few hurdles to jump over before the deal can be completed – I will keep you posted.
After our meeting, Edwin drove Galina, Sigrid and me through the severely damaged Tarqui area. Sigrid wanted to see it and take some photos. He took us all around – the devastation was so unbelievable! It was then I learned that the reason this area suffered so much damage is that it was built on a landfill. Afterwards, Edwin wanted to go to the shelter area to hand out money that Robert had given him. Edwin said normally he just goes through Tarqui and subtly talks to people and asks their stories and then gives them the money. But he wanted to go where the shelters had been set up. We are talking about crude stalls made out of wood and bamboo, covered in plastic. Galina had about 30 pairs of Dollar Store reading glasses she’d brought back from the states and Sigrid had a few clothes people had sent back with her and asked her to donate.
Edwin warned us that we were going to be swarmed as soon as the people saw us and sure enough, when we pulled in and slowed the car down, over the people came. Edwin turned off the car and everyone else got out, but then I realized my window was down and we could not go off and leave the car that way, so I called out to Sigrid to come put my window up before I got out. She got the keys from Edwin and while she was trying to start the car again, made the comment that she didn’t want to open the back hatch because all the people were crowded back there, but she needed to get the clothes out. I told her I could reach over the back to get them. Edwin and Galina were behind the truck handing out money and glasses with people all around them. Suddenly the car started rocking back and forth and I thought the people were mobbing it because Edwin & Galina had just told them they were out of money and glasses. But then I looked out the back window and saw that people didn’t really have their hands on the car. They were standing there somewhat frozen, looking frightened and confused and suddenly I realized we were having another earthquake! Just about that time Sigrid (who later told me she thought I was doing something to rock the car) said, “I think we are having another earthquake,” and I said, “We are!” Then Edwin started shouting for Sigrid to move the car because we were next to some tall buildings. Once she finally got it started and was moving it, the earthquake had subsided. But seeing the faces of those poor people who were there because they’d already lost their homes in the last earthquake was so hard. They were so afraid and it was so sad – they continue to be so traumatized.
Afterwards, we ran a few more errands for Sigrid and then tried to go pick up the picture I’d left to have printed the week before the earthquake. But we started noticing everything was closed and a lot of people were standing outside. We finally realized the power was out and people were still shaken from the quake (I later learned they let the schools out too). We found out a short time later that this one was a 6.8, again not far from the one earlier in the morning. Shortly after it happened, people in Puerto Cayo began messaging me and asking if I was home and OK. They stated it felt very strong to them here as well.
Below are a few photos of what we experienced yesterday. I didn’t caption any of them – what could I say? If a picture is worth a thousand words, I hope these speak volumes to you (I credit my friend Sigrid for some of them as well).