First of all, please see Leigh’s post about ways you can help the relief efforts.
I meant to write this post yesterday, but some things got in the way.
First of all, as you could tell from my last post, I underestimated the magnitude of the earthquake right after it happened. It took me a long time to realize what I had just lived through, and when it finally hit me, I kind of freaked out. It seems illogical, because I was fine, all of my friends and host family were fine, I hadn’t even lost anything of material value. However, I think once the adrenaline wore off sometime around 7:00pm on Saturday, I started to panic. Every little aftershock that I felt (and there were over 100) made my heart race and my breathing get faster. I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I tried to calm myself down by reading and watching non-news related TV online, but I couldn’t focus. I kept clicking to El Mercurio and reading the minute by minute updates.
So I called my friend F. and sobbed into the phone for a little bit. Then I don’t remember what I did but F. called back a few minutes later and said he would be over in a half an hour to pick me up. So I stayed at his house that night and all day yesterday. It was good to be around familiar faces to distract me from the temblores. At 8:30 yesterday morning there was another strong aftershock, but I was with F.’s sister and we rode it out together. She’s also super nervous like me, so I’m glad it’s just not a gringa thing.
Anyway, things are getting back to normal here in Providencia. A lot of people went to work today. Of course everyone is still talking about it and the news is still 24 hour earthquake coverage.
Unfortunately there has been lots of looting in the south, which is really unfortunate. People need food so I understand their desire to obtain that for themselves and their families. What I can’t condone, though, is taking plasma TVs from Lider or going into people’s houses to take things.
At this point, I’m ready for things to get back to normal. I just went through all my clothes and collected a big bag to donate. I would love to help in other ways too, but the Red Cross isn’t accepting untrained volunteers yet. I’m not sure what my work schedule will be like in the next few weeks, but I doubt I’ll be able to go down to the south to help out, although I would love to. Again, check out Leigh’s well written and informative post about ways you can help.
In closing, I’d like to thank everyone for writing to me and/or calling my parents to make sure I was okay. My sister kept a list of people who called the house on Saturday and Sunday and my parents told me yesterday. I was amazed at how many people were worried about me! Thank you so much.