Published On: Mon, Sep 25th, 2017

Post-Hurricane Irma Interview: “Sylvia Carty”

Sylvia CartyCAY Hill — “I went through my list of things I had to do just like I always do.” says Silvia Carty, visual arts teacher and owner of an art school called Sabrina’s Production located in Cay Hill, where she also lives.

Visual arts teacher Sylvia Carty recounts her personal experiences during Hurricane Irma

Carty says that there are many houses that are more damaged than hers. Sabrina’s Production however, is a mess and she’s trying to have it cleaned up in time to start classes next week or the week thereafter.

“I always try to be ready during hurricane season as I have been through quite a few. I had bought some dry foods but went back and bought more, just to be sure. I also bought two large bags of dog food because I was worried it might be something they wouldn’t bring to the island as a priority in case of anything. Before the hurricane I did not know it would be a category five. We were talking about it being ridiculous that it was going to be a category four. So the fact that it became a category five was inconceivable. After all, Louis was the standard of major bad storms and nobody thought that we will have another storm that will top that.”

Carty says that she and her family also boarded up our house and filled our tub with water. They had water for all our animals and extra food, filled water coolers with drinking water, and made ice blocks. She says that she wished they had gotten more time to prepare because the outside took so much time she never really got a chance to prepare the inside of my house. Her husband had to continue working ‘til almost the last moment leaving her shorthanded in preparing ourselves.

Carty continues to say “I had invited some folks to come and stay at our home. A couple and their two children who had only been on the island for a month and had no idea what to expect, and my good friend who lives alone. But during the hurricane our doors upstairs blew out and our garage doors also blew out. And a window in our office got punctured by flying debris. Had all those people not been in our house to help us during the storm, the damage would have been so much worse. I had asked them here thinking I was helping them but in the end God provided me with the help I needed during the storm. But during the storm all I could think was “Look how I asked these people to be here and I have put their lives in danger.” At one point we had five people sitting on a sofa in front of our porch doors trying to keep it from blowing in, while I was running around trying to solve other issues, it was a macabre Kodak moment.”

Carty says when it was over, she was grinning from ear to ear – just so grateful we had all survived without injury. She was “on a high” and that none of the damage to her house could bring her down. “There is no preparing for a monster storm like this,” she says, “she tore up the place without discrimination.” She added that whether a person’s house was big, small or in between – new or old, there was no rhyme or reason to the destruction.

Carty says “As I saw the result, I thought of how fortunate we were to still be alive and not to have suffered greater damage. Brokenhearted for all those who have lost everything, or more then they could afford to recover from. Complete disgust for the mindless looting that happened and despair for our future to see all the parents that took their children looting with them.”

Carty has made decisions like sending her children to Holland and scavenging for wood to close up the holes in her house. She’s also trying to not look too far ahead and to just take it one hour at a time. She says she will start coping in time when it really hits her but now there is just too much work to do, and the storms have been just one after the other. Every day she gets up and tackles a task or spend the day helping someone. She also says that her neighborhood got together as a group to clean up the streets and patch up each others houses.

Carty also says “When it came to Maria, I thought she was scarier because of what Irma put us through and the damage we had already suffered and all the damage you know others has suffered. You hadn’t had time to process what had come before but you were so much more exhausted. I’m just glad we were spared a full on experience.”

Interview by Today reporter, Julie Alcin. Photo taken from Facebook.