Life After Ida


Justin Bamgboye

For most people in the small town of Manville, it’s not unusual to experience a flood or two in their lifetime, but never to this extent. On the first day of September, no one would imagine how their lives would change overnight. For I witnessed and experienced it all. On Wednesday night, Manville residents went to sleep with the loud sound of rain pelting their homes. The sound of the thunderous winds and the frightening rain made people uneasy. As most people like I went to sleep, we expected not to have the need to wake up till the morning, but that wasn’t the case.

Just a couple of hours after going to sleep, the haunting sounds of sirens startled Manville residents out of their sleep. I was one of the people closest to the sirens. Parents like mine woke up their children to prepare for an incoming flood. People in the valley scattered to move their cars and take things out of their basement before it was too late. For some this was possible, but for most, they were just delaying the inevitable. As I was clearing out my basement just like others, the gushing waters seeped through the cracks of the wall striking fear into my eyes. This was the moment not to be slow. I moved quicker as more water started to fill my basement. Within 10 minutes, the water was almost halfway up my calf. Many people experienced this and will be traumatized the next morning.

After trying to save valuables, people went back to sleep and waited for the next day. In the valley, the water reached to the first floor of some houses and for other parts in Manville, almost the second floor of some houses. The water was so high that in order to maneuver everyone had to get rescued by boats. Life felt like the world was ending. 3 houses away from mine, a house exploded; people around the area felt the explosion as it shook my house. For the first time, I was truly scared for my life because I thought I could be next.

As the day went on, the water went down. For Thursday, I, just like many others, was trapped in their house. By Friday, the water was physically gone, but it remained indefinitely with the residents. Once the water was gone, the process of rebuilding started. Residents of Manville cleaned out their houses of damaged goods. The site of destruction was depressing as valuables were trashed on the curb. Many people were left homeless; a family of three with a newborn just moved into a house that was actually the house that exploded in the valley. Many people were left with stress and trauma, but life was to get better.

As days came, the fortunate people that weren’t affected as much by the flood helped out the community. Sports players from the high school soccer and football teams, girls and boys, helped out delivering water. Teachers from the Manville district also volunteered and helped residents move things out of their homes. The scene of Manville town-wide was very depressing yet people were still motivated, but that’s Manville: Manville the home of the Mustangs, the home of the strong.

In the following weeks to come, the cleanup process furthered. The town started to clean up trash left on the curb and people still volunteered to help others. In the valley, straight ahead after going over the bridge, Zarephath Church has set up a station where there are essentials that anyone can take for free.

Although we got hit hard, there is nothing Manville can’t take as a town; we are strong and we are resilient.