valerie-duque_web.jpgWith hurricane season right around the corner, I asked some of my friends on Facebook if they had an interesting or crazy hurricane story to tell. Here is what they told me:
“Well, during the hurricane that hit after Katrina…I don’t remember the name, it was the very first time that my neighborhood had lost power. We were out of power for five days and I had seen people in my neighborhood that I’ve never seen before in my life. There were so many children outside, playing, riding bikes, not playing video games or watching TV. Neighbors were helping each other out, moving parts of trees or moving debris. Everyone was helping each other out, and these were things that they wouldn’t normally do. Also, the nights were super clear and sort of cold. I’ve never seen the stars so bright. And, to preserve food, we had a huge block party where everyone brought their barbecues and cooked all their food.’’ 
–Valeria Duque, 18, Pembroke Pines

“After the hurricane, we went out the house and the whole community was on the street looking at the damage. The street was flooded by a broken pipe which happened to be buried under a tree that was knocked down by the powerful winds. Little did we know the pipe was connected to our house. So for four to five days, we did not have water running through the house. Our neighbors were kind enough… to bring us food.

Later that afternoon, we stopped by my father’s work to get food because they didn’t want it to spoil in the freezer. Using the gas stove, my dad made hamburgers and shared it with the neighbors. We slept in darkness and bathed with ice-cold water, which my skin did not like at all. What was really awesome was how my mom made fish and rice with fire in the back yard, and then shared it with the neighbor. I got to know my neighbors and people around the neighborhood. It’s beautiful how at a time like this people can work together to survive.’’
–Barbara Exume, 19, Fort Lauderdale

“One hurricane story I can remember was from Hurricane Wilma. My dad had bought a little weather radio to hear any news reports on when the power would come back. At first we only used it for that purpose, but as the days went on we started to listen to the actual news stories together as a family. I thought we took a step back into ye olden days for a while, but I eventually got used to it. When looking back on what happened after Hurricane Wilma, I realized that we took a step back from the everyday living that tends to distance people, and started to appreciate things like family bonding.’’ 
–Anika Maxwell, 16, Sunrise

“My neighbor’s car got totaled. After Hurricane Wilma passed through a couple years ago, we decided to check around to see the damage. Our house just had a whole lot of leaves around and a couple branches fell, no car or any part of the house was damaged.

My neighbor was like,  ‘This cannot be happening.’ I was like, ‘What is not?’ and he said, ‘My car.’

From where I was standing, his car looked fine, but when I walked around to the other side, the whole right side was totaled. His back patio cover flew over the house and into the side of his car; he had only one more month to pay on it, too.

Another thing that happened was every street but mine got power. I didn't have power for about six weeks. We witnessed the neighboring streets receive power and we got nothing. As a matter of fact it came on for about ten minutes about three weeks after the storm passed but a tree down the street caught fire and power was shut down for my street.  I didn't get power for another three weeks.’’
 –Adrian Clarke, 18, Miramar

“My aunt loves hurricanes. During the last big hurricane we had in Florida, she secured herself to her house with a rope and went outside during the storm. She said it was great because the hurricane picked her up off the ground and she felt like she was flying.’’
–Jade Brown, 19, Fort Lauderdale

“During that crazy hurricane year when Katrina, Charlie, and a lot of other hurricanes hit, our power went out. Then my sisters invented this annoying song on the second day. It went ‘2 days without power, we had no power yesterday, and if the electric man comes then will have some tomorrow.’ (Something like that). Imagine listening to that for ‘14 days without power’ repeatedly.’’
–David Doirin, 18, North Miami

Photo: Valeria Duque