When the first English settlers established Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, they encountered many calamities that threatened their survival. However, with the development of communities in its later years, Jamestown thrived and prospered as its inhabitants collaborated for the common good of the colony. Today, more than 400 years have passed since the establishment of Jamestown, and the idea of community has proven to be paramount to human existence. With the experience of riding out Hurricane Ike in Houston, Texas and witnessing the aftermath of a storm of tremendous caliber through a victim’s perspective, I strongly believe that the community is one of the most invaluable assets that humans can possess.
Hours before Hurricane Ike roared onto land, Houstonians, awaiting the arrival of the storm, huddled into communities to soothe worries and fears. As the trees rustled in the howling wind, I laid on the living room sofa as nearby transformers exploded and brightened the sky. After our street had lost power around midnight, neighbors checked on each other and gathered in sturdy houses to overcome fears in the darkness. Occasionally, windows rattled as if there was an imminent earthquake. By sunrise, tree limbs and leaves littered yards and streets while almost the entire city of Houston remained without power, some without even running water or natural gas. Nearly all forms of modern technology and communication devices (T.V., telephone, computer, etc.) were thwarted. The destruction left behind by Hurricane Ike was more than anyone could imagine. My family and I were the fortunate ones, ones still with running water, non-perishable food, and a roof above our heads.
Waking up to a war zone wrought upon by the storm, we realized that we all shared a common experience: we were victims in dire situations. In a way, Hurricane Ike had conjured our love and spirit for the community. As a result, we came together as a community to rake up leaves, to clear sewage pipes, to cover leaking roofs, to dry attics, to remove fallen trees from streets, and to take part in other clean up efforts that would prop up a ravaged neighborhood.
By night time, my family and I sat in the darkness and hoped that power will be restored before our refrigerated food began to spoil. That hope never came in time. Meanwhile, we heard generators humming in the air. Neighbors shared nearly everything from gas to electricity to ice. We endured the hardships together as if we were one single family. Even though Hurricane Ike had destroyed our homes and changed parts of our landscape, we refused to allow it to shatter our enthusiasm, love, and spirit for our community, which we depended on for our survival during Hurricane Ike and its aftermath.
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