On Tuesday, there were many terrified people in and around the city of Oaxaca. The Guerrero earthquake that struck Guerrero on caused tremors to be felt across large parts of Mexico, including Oaxaca. No small quake, this 7.4 on the Richter scale, it was a doozy and the biggest to hit Mexico in almost thirty years.
It happened late Tuesday morning, sometime between 11:30 am and 12:02 pm, depending on which websites one reads. I was busy at my job as a freelance writer when the earthquake alarm sounded; we have them all over the city. At first I went onto my terrace, but the terrace and the entire building started swaying first to the left then to the right.
|When the earthquake alarm sounds|
the garden is the safest place to be
Since I live on the second floor, I had visions of the floor beneath my feet collapsing and my falling into the apartment below. I feared the possibility of being buried by the floor I was currently standing on. Dying wasn't frightening me; it was the thought of being buried alive that was scary.
I descended the stairs, funny but the stairs seemed more secure than the terrace floor. I moved into the middle of the garden and stood. Ana, our housekeeper came running down the stairs of the big house. I held out my arms. She buried her head in my shoulder. "Tienes miedo. Tienes miedo. Temblor es muy fuerte. Esta bien. Esta bien." (You are frightened. You are frightened. The earthquake tremor is very strong. It's okay. It's okay) She couldn't stop crying. Eventually she was able to express concern over her grandchildren. She expressed the desire to call them. I gave her permission. She expressed eternal gratitude for my granting permission. Then off she went to make the call.
You may wonder why she needed my permission. She didn't. It's just that the color of my skin makes me superior. I don't like this, but I accept it as a fact. Mother Ruth, Ana's jefa (boss), wasn't around. And so, Ana turned to the nearest authority figure, which happened to be me.
No lives were lost anywhere in the vicinity of the earthquake. Few buildings were damaged and life soon returned to normal. Mexico's earthquake preparedness is a testament to its ability to handle emergencies. As was the H1N1 flu virus scare of 2009. I think it is time the media stopped talking about the dangers within Mexico's borders, and started reporting on Mexico's incredible modernization.