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Time and Tide wait for no man [tsunami account by my Uncle]

Or my Uncle’s account of the tsunami on American Samoa.  As you may, or may not know, I was born and raised on American Samoa.  For years I’ve had a people ask me where that island was located, and now they know–albeit a rather unfortunate way to publicize its location, ala natural disaster.  Anyway, here’s a brief e-mail I received from my Uncle describe what he went through.

“8.0 magnitude 7:50 am (9-29-09)

I was on the road heading to St. Theresa to drop my kids when the earthquake struck.  I was listening to the radio when Lupe (KKHJ) suddenly said that earth is shaking, we can’t feel it as we are travelling.  But on the sound of their voice it was shaking strong and getting stronger. When I reach the turn off from Iliili turning.  Left towards Leone, I stop to see If I’m clear.  Thant’s when we felt the quake…my car was shaking too!I still proceed to drop my kids to school (Jerri to Faasao & Jan to St Theresa).  Then went straight to the office and not too

Long Edith called and told Tanya that there’s a TSUNAMI! I got up, never bothered to talk to Edith to get my kids (especially Jan).  Got to my car and right in front of Pavaiai gas station, Lupe said that water just hit the whole first floor of Pago Plaza (they broadcast from the 2nd flr) And she was panicking!  Then I was panicking too! But I still managed to calm down and compose myself.

On the my way to Leone I could see cars after cars full of people heading on the opposite direction.  I told myself “OH NO” I passed Fa’asao and saw all the students were all on the second floor, so I said OK Jerri is safe.  When I reach Pritchard traffic started to slow down and I could see first response people directing traffic. So I decided to park my car at Kruse store.  Jumped out of my car and started running down to St Theresa Elementary School. When I reach the Leone Health Center, I saw debris everywhere and people running to higher grounds.  They won’t let people thru so I found a way to St Theresa navigating houses on the left.  Water almost reached my waist line when I reach the school.  I was so relieved when I saw Jan on the second floor crying and that’s the time I felt exhausted!

I held her so tight and told her everything will be okay and that it’s over.  But I know she’s still in the state of shock as she didn’t want to come down with me.   They actually saw BIG waves going towards their school.  After a while I finally convinced her to come down.

Thank God no one got hurt from their school.”

(Photos uploaded Oct 29th, 2011)

My old elementary school...

My family are safe, thankfully. But my prayers go out to those who have lost.

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