Published On: Thu, Sep 28th, 2017

19-year old admits “while I was busy panicking, I forgot to prepare properly”

St. Peter’s Hill — “To be honest, I wasn’t ready for Irma or even ready for what happened after it.” says 19-year old Linda Gibson, a former student of St. Maarten Academy who graduated this year, in an interview with TODAY reporter, Julie Alcin.

St. Maarten Academy graduate recounts her personal experiences during Hurricane Irma

“Even before it came, I was panicking. I wanted to go to a safer place, because I didn’t know if my house was safe – it’s made out of concrete but it’s old. And as the day came closer, my panic got worse. I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about it. And when it came, I had a bad feeling in my stomach – I got sick. I was really scared and wanted to vomit.” Linda tells us.

“To make things worse, during the storm the house was shaking and things were hitting the windows. I was glad when it was finally over, but seeing what happened to the island made me feel sad again. I couldnt believe it. Everything was destroyed,” she sighs and looks around her.

She says she remembers coming out of her house that is located on St. Peter’s Hill to see roofs destroyed, and that there was a house just down the street that was completely wiped away and there were broken branches and zinc everywhere.

Marigot Hill St Peters 1

“Sadly, while I was busy panicking, I forgot to prepare properly and didn’t have enough water to last…”

“Sadly, while I was busy panicking, I forgot to prepare properly and didn’t have enough water to last me for a long time. I’ve had to go to wells so I can get some water to use. Good thing I had food though. Water was my only problem, but then I guess it is a problem for a lot of other people too, because almost everywhere I go there is someone either coming from a well to get water or going to fill their buckets. I even heard that some wells got dry or close to being dry.

Marigot Hill St Peters 3

I’m so glad that GEBE is working hard, because I have water now,” she smiles, excited that she now has water. She says that she’s so happy that she doesn’t have to struggle with buckets anymore and that she can go back to her “normal” ways of getting water.

“…one of the things I miss doing since Irma came is charging my phone whenever I want…”

She looks down at her phone and adds “but one of the things I miss doing since Irma came is charging my phone whenever I want and going places to have fun. Besides everything that went wrong, I try to look at the positive and count my blessings. I’m alive, even though I wasn’t sure I was going to be, I’ve seen people working together to make things better, and people who lost everything are sharing what they have so that the other person doesn’t go hungry.

Marigot Hill St Peters 2

“After Irma came, I realized that we take a lot of things for granted…”

I’m just glad to call this friendly island my home. After Irma came, I realized that we take a lot of things for granted – things like GEBE, our island, and sometimes even each other – and it takes something big for us to start caring again. I just hope we continue to care when everything goes back to normal.”

Photos by Julie Alcin