Being Introduced to Gustav

Trip Start Aug 10, 2008
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Flag of Jamaica  ,
Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dear Friends and Family:
This morning, we began our first day of school with hurricane watches. The morning skies were blue and absent of Hurricane Gustav as Karen and I walked to the bus stop. By midday, the clouds had rolled in and a thunderous rain was pounding on our classroom roof. In less than a half-hour, the first atmospheric wave of the storm had passed over, and the skies were clear. We were let out of class early to purchase books and ID cards, and to get home before the next wave of rains passed through. Buses, gas stations and supermarkets were packed as Jamaicans prepared for the storm ahead.

I am only sending this short note to let everyone know that we're okay. :) Our host mom, Eloine, has been through such storms before and has been stocking up on food, water and supplies over the past couple of days, and reminding us of the emergency plan. We live in a two story, cement home. We are not near the coast. Bars are on all entries to the home (windows and doors) and if the storm gets particularly bad and we lose power, we'll be staying together in the downstairs living room area (away from windows and in the center of the house). It is the safest place to be during such storms.

If you want to keep abreast of Gustav's path, the following website offers regular updates on the storm:

As it stands, Gustav is currently deemed a tropical storm and is moving across the Caribbean at 7mph with maximum winds of 45mph. He is expected to move between Jamaica and Cuba by Thursday. Our hope is that he remains on path, quickly moves over open bodies of water (aka: doesn't gain strength) and passes as just a tropical storm. (Currently, Jamaica has been issued a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch. A "warning" indicates a likely occurrence, while a "watch" indicates a possible occurrence.) Regardless of Gustav's title, please keep those living on the coast of Cuba and Jamaica in your thoughts.

Classes are still scheduled to happen tomorrow, as we wait to meet the storm. We will be contacted by the director of the program if it is deemed (in any way) unsafe for us to go to the university. For now, the night sky looks like a rumpled velvet blanket and I can't help but smile at the cheesy grins in our "first day of school" picture and ID cards. Mom, we took the former for you. ;)

I love you, guys. Thanks for being a part of this experience. I'll be online as much as possible and will be in touch with the group, as a whole, when the skies clear again.

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smallen on

Thank goodness!
Thanks for letting us know that you're safe, Heather. I didn't get a chance to respond the the coconut story before, but I LOVE your blogs! So much fun reading what you're up to and learning about life in Jamaica. Thanks for the updates and BIG hugs! Serena :)

gubbins on

So bloody great to see you living your dream and going after what you want in life. You have always been an inspiration to me, and I know countless others, and here you go again spreading the joy - Heather style :)

While reading your blogs I keep remembering back to the times we spent eating Indian wraps in Davis, dressing up as Pirates for the kids, sharing our latest albums to get us through the day and just hearing that infectious laugh of yours. Great times!!

Love ya girl, and I'm with you in spirit as you embark on this new chapter of your wonderful life.


pastorlew on

I liked Lion, whom I COULD see, better than Gustav, whom I never could tell from that satellite exactly where he was.

I assume by the time you get this, Gustav will have passed. (And Lion may still be there?)


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