The Wrath of Hurricane Ivan

Peter Orne writes: Jamaicans are doubtless superstitious and ponder the actions and meaning of God after catastrophic events. An office mate, Linda, originally from Jamaica, came to me this afternoon with news of Hurricane Ivan's impact on her homeland. She is Christian and spoke last night with a friend, Patrick, in her church there. "This one has a mind," Linda told me, hands motioning. "Forget Charley and Francis, this one is angry. If it hits Florida, they're doomed. People all over the island are saying, this one is weird. It speaks!"

During hurricanes, Jamaicans don't board up their windows so much as they sit and watch the hurricane do its work. Patrick watched the wind hitting a mango tree, and he said the wind spoke -- "Vrrrr! vrrrr! vrrrr!!!" The mango tree held. But then the wind got angrier -- "Vrrrr!" -- and pulled up the tree, roots and all. He watched his garden. Strong wind usually flattens foliage, but Ivan plucked up his tomato plants one by one, put them in a pile, and then kicked the whole pile over a fence! Many Jamaicans still use outhouses. In Patrick's neighborhood, all the outhouses ended in a heap at the end of an alleyway.

Patrick reported that two women, neighbors, prayed during the storm and woke the next morning to find their homes and yards intact, and all the homes around them flattened. An elderly minister woke in his intact bedroom the next morning as well, only to find the rest of his home missing and the floors flooded. "This hurricane has a demon in it," my office mate said. "But when it passed over that minister's home, God wouldn't let Ivan touch him."

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: October 11, 2004