Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So there was an earthquake (5.9) on the East Coast yesterday, and according to this article, Californians are being pretty insufferable about it. Having recently moved from California, I've experienced firsthand their insufferability, so that did make me laugh. But it also made me think about the fact that earthquakes and tremors are common in many parts of the world, and El Salvador is likely to be one of them.

Living in Guatemala, we got used to daily small tremors that would shake the lights hanging from the ceilings while everyone continued about their work as normal. At the school that I worked at, the director, new to the area and fearful of natural disasters, attempted to create better emergency procedures, in which students crawled under their desks at the first sign of shaking. Yes, we need to keep the children safe, but after a week in which at least one class was interrupted every day, he realized that perhaps his emergency preparedness was a little too prepared.

That's not to say that there weren't quakes that caused massive amounts of damage. I rented space from a family, and my bedroom was the maid's quarters (no, I was not the maid, I just lived in the space that most homes had been built with), which opened onto the central patio. This family had a dog who would often sleep out on the patio or wander out as needed. Often, he'd end up sleeping, or at least sniffing, at my door. The door to my room was metal, and set into a metal frame, so when he would settle himself against it, it would bang and wake me up. One night, I was awoken by the door hitting the frame continuously. "That ^&*$ dog!" I thought, and got up to yell at him. I opened the door, and no dog, but then I became aware that something had happened. Despite the fact that it was about 2am, I could hear people talking, yelling, and crying in the streets, and about that time, my host mom came out to check on me. We later found out that damages were immense, with many people losing their homes, or parts of their homes.

From what I've been reading, El Salvador also commonly experiences minor tremors as well as the occasional true earthquake. It's just one more thing we'll have to get used to, and prepare for.

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