Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our earthquake adventures

Emily and I got home last night from Shanghai at about 7pm and boy are things strange!!! First of all it was weird in the extreme to walk into the foster home. There were no babies!!! That has not happened since before September 13, 2005. It looks totally deserted and in a mess. The babies are all on the first floor, in case you were wondering. The walls on the fifth floor sustained some damage and we have to fix it before the babies can come back upstairs.
Kay and her husband Will have already started preparing the walls by spackling the places where the masonry has fallen off and we will have to repaint and we are going to get a cleaning crew up here to clean the whole foster home.
I thought you would like to read what Kay had to say about the earthquake experience:
Today has been much better then yesterday.
Stories: Day 1: I have heard that the earthquake was a 3.5 where we were. It was enough to make the building sway, the walls to crack and for people to fall where they were standing. I think one of the best stories is one that happened before I got there.  When the earthquake happened, the nannies went running down the stairs, each carrying 2 children. Even with all the nannies there, there were still 4 children left upstairs.  When the nannies tried to go back up for them, the security guard wouldn't let them back up because it was unsafe (the building was still shaking). They told him, "We still have 4 kids up there" The guy was still adamant that they could not go, so they just rushed past him to get the other kids.
They ended up finding a flat piece of ground within the complex and away from the buildings. With the children out, and the area more stable, they made a few trips into the house to get supplies for the kids. They were still outside at 11:00 when I arrived from the airport and had laid out sleeping bags and blankets on the ground for the children to sleep on. When I got there, the nannies were huddled with blankets around their shoulders surrounding the children sleeping in their makeshift beds. They looked like a bunch of refugee babies camped out on the ground.
Around 1:00, I moved the nannies and the children into the first floor apartment. It seemed like a safer option because the higher up people were, the worse the vibrations they experienced. Additionally, because we didn't dare use the elevator during the earthquake, by staying on the first floor, it would be much quicker and easier to evacuate the children if need be. Nearly all the nannies were able to stay behind, which I was so grateful for, even though I know they probably would have much rather have been with their families.
Day 2: The children did not sleep well the night before because we had moved them all around, and some of them were upset at the new surroundings. During the day they fussed more then usual. But aside from that, things were pretty good. We had to take the children out for several hours during the day because there were still after shock warnings and we felt better having the children playing in the grass outside. It looked more like a giant kindergarten picnic rather then a refugee camp this time. Things were still a bit hectic because the apartment downstairs is not set up to have the babies in it, but by the end of the day, we seemed to work out substitute processes for the things that needed to get done. Will and I prepared a "getaway cart" with a big bag of diapers, formula, wipes, medicines, towels, blankets, and other necessary but non-perishable items for easy access in case we had to evacuate again. Will cleared the path to the door so that the cart and the strollers could fit through easily and so that people wouldn't trip as they hurried out. I have a rotation of nannies staying during the night (2 extra per night) to be available in case we need to evacuate the children...that way there are five of us instead of three. Again, I know that they would probably much rather be with their families, so I was really grateful.
Day 3: Today has been as close to normal as can be expected given the circumstances. Now that things are settling down and stabilizing, we have had some time to come and clean the debris in the 5th floor apartment. We hope to be able to move the kids back up within the next couple of days (depending on the situation).
Life, Love and Laughter,


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

I was thinking of you all... glad to hear that everything is ok... take care and love to all...

shell said...

I am so glad that the children and care givers are all doing ok after this horrible disaster....know you are in my thoughts and prayers....thanks for keeping us posted.

Anonymous said...

So happy to hear you are all safe. Starfish was the first thought that came into our minds and prayers when we heard about the earthquake. Thank goodness the nannies took charge and kept the children safe.

Debbie, John, & Michael

Jesicca said...

God Bless, we have been so worried about you all. Thank you for posting so that the world can know that all is well for you and your little ones. You are in our prayers.