Monday, 18 April 2016

I have pulled up the file labelled "el terremoto"

and sifted through it yet again.
      "I suppose you will be busy Cat," someone said in a message to me yesterday. 
Well  yes, but not as busy as I might have been. It is all too familiar now. We have all been through this before. I have the easy part of the job. They have the hard part. 
"El terremoto" (m) is Spanish for "earthquake". As the Senior Cat said, "It sounds more like "terror" than an earthquake." It means "earth" and "move". 
I think I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog that I have memories of an earthquake when I was a very small kitten. I can remember the little wardrobe in my room swaying. I can remember the Senior Cat carrying me outside into the night. My brother was there in the arms of the railway worker who was on his way home and who had alerted my father to the possible danger.
Nothing really happened in our little space on the planet. We were lucky. Cracks appeared in some  houses in the city. I remember seeing one in the house of my godmother's mother. Although  the city I live in is built on a fault line we have, so far, been fortunate. Our own house is built to "rest" on the slab - supposedly that will withstand a moderate quake. 
But things are different elsewhere. Earthquakes are more frequent and, all too often, more severe. That "ring" in the Pacific is a cause for concern for many. The Japanese are  used to dealing with earthquakes. They build largely with timber because of the likelihood of an earthquake. It is one reason they have so few very old buildings. Their modern building codes are strict and strictly enforced. Even so the damage this time has been widespread. I am genuinely thankful that they usually deal with their own affairs. I don't know much about Japanese as a language.
Spanish is different. It's a lovely language - full of words I can guess the meaning of without having to resort to a dictionary. It has strong associations with Latin. 
They also speak Quechua  in Ecuador. One of the words for earthquake in Quechua is "pachakuyuy". I would have had no chance of working out the meaning of that but I was told the meaning of it years ago  in another disaster.
So I have pulled up the file. I have stared at it. I have looked at the communication boards written in the past. I sent the one to the engineer who just happened to be in Quito working on another  project. He's ready to go if the government there asks him to look at anything. His Spanish is good but he knows it is wise to double and even triple check some things with the local communities. There will be some more requests as people assess the damage and the help needed. 
I don't have as much work to do this time. I just wish I didn't have any at all. Pensando en ti. 

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