One of our own here at Island Stage, Maliika Walker lives in the Tri-State area. We are so happy that she is safe after the devastating blow from Superstorm Sandy last week. We asked Maliika to give us her perspective on the storm, the frame of mind people are in on the East coast and how we can help.
The effects of this storm will be felt for months, if not years not only by the people who were directly affected on the Eastern seaboard, but by people all over the Caribbean who also endured a direct hit by the storm.
I do not like b…….. Especially those that threaten to destroy my home, my livelihood, but that is exactly what Sandy did last Monday, October 29.
There I was, minding my own business, when Sandy decided to make her impending visit known. I was just laying in my comfortable bed, looking at my cat get comfortable at the foot of my bed, when I heard pounding against my windows. I knew it wasn’t Sandy yet because it was only 8:00AM in the morning. When Sandy’s sister Irene visited last year it was in the evening so I figured it was a family trait. I simply turned and looked at the window and shrugged my shoulders. What was I thinking at the time you wonder? All I thought was hello Sandy, I then turned around and went to sleep.
My cellphone woke me up out of my sleep and I noticed from the caller ID that it was one of my sister-friends on the other end. She asked if I needed her to come get me since Sandy was probably going to make life miserable when she came. She felt Sandy will trap me in my apartment by flooding the streets around me. She also felt she would shut off my power and pollute my water but I said no i’m good. Sandy is not scaring me out of my home. Sister- friend however was not having it. “Maliika Sandy is more powerful than Irene. She could really make your life uncomfortable.” A voice in the back of my head said maybe she is right. If you were with your friend then you guys could face her together. So I relented and decided to go home with my friend and await Sandy’s arrival. It didn’t matter where I was, a b……. named Sandy was going to find me. We took our time going to lunch, shopping, even considered going to the movies but then we felt a slight chill from Sandy’s visit. While walking to our car, the force of Sandy’s impending arrival, nearly knocked me off my feet. This chick was going to be nothing to play with. We figured we better get home and get ready for Sandy.
As the time of Sandy’s arrival drew closer, I began to get a little nervous. Once 8PM struck Sandy made her presence known by turning off the lights in my friends apartment but the lights came back on. Sandy tried to make our lives uncomfortable by shaking the building and turning off the lights at least three additional times. However, the lights
would just come back on a few seconds later. Sandy began to get angrier but the lights and cable stayed on. After a while I began to feel Sandy’s presence less and less. I decided to watch the news and was met with a shocking reality. Sandy’s wrecked havoc across the entire tri-state area and boy did she do damage. I sadly watched Atlantic City, The Jersey Shore, Manhattan (downtown), Brooklyn, and Connecticut completely submerged in Sandy’s wake. Hurricane Sandy was destroying everything around me and their was nothing I could do about it. All I could do was watch Sandy destroy thousands upon thousands of home. All I could do is watch families struggle to get out of their homes or be submerged in water. All I could do is watch people cry as they spoke about losing everything they owned. All I could do is watch the news announce the death of 80 or more people due to a b… named Sandy. One man died after his oxygen tank ran out. One mother watched her two sons wash away and not one person helped her even though she banged on the front door of some homes and screamed through the night. I watched as people walked around like zombies, shocked at what was happening to the tri-state area. I knew the zombie look because I had the same look. How could this b…… named Sandy come to our area and cause so much damage to our daily lives. We had no idea what we were going to face the next day when we woke up.
I woke up with the news still on and saw that Hoboken was flooded to the point where you barely saw the top of cars. Boats were flung around like they were tree branches. Trees crashed on top of homes. Atlantic City, the Jersey Shore, Sea Side Heights were completely destroyed. Public transportation was completely shut down. Town upon town had no power which meant children were living in unacceptable conditions. Parents were trying to do all they could to keep their children warm and fed. Diners in areas that had power were overcrowded as families tried to eat a decent hot meal. Children were not going to school. People with cars could not get gas. Drivers were forced to scour the streets in the limited areas that had power and wait in lines that were three to four hours long to only be able to get $20 dollars of gas. No one could fill their tank. Policeman were patrolling gas stations to ensure fights did not take place. I even heard a story about a man who left his house at 3 o’clock in the morning to get gas and did not return to his powerless home until 8AM. People were using gas not just to get around but to charge up their phones. Their cell phones were their only connection to the outside world. Looting has become out of control across areas that had no power.
It is a sad state of affairs in the tri-state area but Sandy will not get the last laugh. Today trains began traveling to NYC Penn Station again. Grand Central Terminal opened to the public. Thousands of homes began receiving power. That is such a blessing, especially the families with elderly people and/children living with them. Slowly the NY Tri-State area is making their way to recovery. It will take sometime for Atlantic City and The Jersey Shore to recover. Years of rebuilding are in store for that area but New Jersey is resilient! Atlantic City and The Jersey Shore will return bigger and better than before.
Today I began to reflect on what is important in life.
I wonder what could have happened had Hurricane Sandy been a category 5 instead of a cyclone. What additional damage could Sandy have caused. How many deaths would have occurred?
Suddenly I realize that tomorrow is not promised. Each day is a gift. My priorities have shifted. No more making excuses for my mistakes. Each day is a day closer to achieving my goals. Each day is a chance to embrace life’s possibilities. Life is short. Things that were important to me before the hurricane are not any longer. The time is
now to go after everything I want in life. Thanks to a b…… named Sandy, I now realize my time is now. But Sandy please do not send any of your siblings or cousins our way. You and your sister Irene are quite enough.
Hurricane sandy put things in perspective. Life is short. We take so much for granted.
What if you woke up and all your possessions, your home was completely destroyed? Everything you worked for gone? You have no money but you have to find a way to feed your children? Hurricane Sandy woke us up in the tri-state area. I do not think we will ever be the same.
A special thank you to the American Red Cross for helping the tri-state area when we needed it. The American Red Cross has been been on the ground, since the arrival of Sandy, and has been feeding hot meals to families, providing blankets, ice, whatever we need. Please donate to the American Red Cross today. You may never know when you will need them. Go to RedCross .org to donate You can also make a $10 donation by simply texting Redcross to 90999