Bahia Ecuador – Rocking & Rolling on Sat. night without a band, first hand account of earthquake

Posted on May 2, 2016 • Filed under: Ecuador, Ecuador Emergency

Ecuador 7.8 EARTH QUAKE APRIL 16, 2016
Written Friday April 29, 2016 by Cheryl and Don PaPania
Just found out I can get internet at the mall in Bahia. Envision and entire food court with every chair taken with a person with a laptop, pad, pod, etc. Anyway Don, myself and Rambo are OK. Rambo was really traumatized, but is coming around. We live 38 Km south of Pedernales and 10 Km north of Jama, so we were definitely in the mix of things. Our house is not livable and the guest house even worse. However both still standing so we can get things out. Don said the guest house columns which support the roof are good and the roof he built is in perfect shape. Other than that all walls inside and exterior must come out. Well at least it will make a good outside covered party pavilion. Thank goodness Don is a construction dude and knows structural engineering, electricity and plumbing. He has scoped everything out and feels he can make our house come alive again and be built much safer and to USA type codes which have not existed on the coast or maybe anywhere in Ec. It will take time and money, but heck we are retired and have all the time it will take. Until then we are living under our carport, front porch and patio. We are so very lucky to be ALIVE & UNHARMED. Also, even though living outside and the prospect of it could be for many months is not pleasant, we have it better than many. Hey any of you ever watch Property Brothers or Property Virgins, well if your wish list includes “OPEN CONCEPT” well come on down, we have a gem for you. Ha ha. The On-Suite bath leaves a lot to be desired though, ha ha.

We have generators, access to fuel, even though the only gas station close to us is gouging, the well is intact for water for cooking and bathing. We were able to save most of our stuff, stove, frig, freezers, pot/pans, beds bedding. TV, etc. Don will need man help, but right now he is trying to do some demo to save electrical switches, face plates, junction boxes, pipes, tubes, the toilets and sinks not broken, screws anything that can be reused when he actually starts the rebuild. And thank goodness his workshop and all his tools survived. In fact 95% of what Don has built is fine, however we bought an existing house and Don has been remodeling/renovating/adding on. Even though Don had tried to beef up structurally, which he did a lot, the original house was built by Ecuadorians. No rebar/steel in the walls and I could go on and on. Those were the parts that fell down. Our long time electrician for our transformer took the time to come check out our transformer and said he will be back Saturday to reconnect lines, fuses, etc so it is ready when electricity gets restored to our area, which is probably still weeks away. So far he says it looks Ok, so we are praying no damage to it. (Where we live we have to have our own transformer, (at our expense), yuck). We have lived in Ec almost 10 years and EVERYTHING we worked and saved for all our lives is our home and property, that is why we can just make it on my Social Security (Don is only 57)


Right now we have a pretty good supply of food and drinking water, TP, etc. thanks to our friends from Santo Domingo and Quito and the few donations we take from the military. Our Ec friends have been amazing. One friend offered to bring down some young strong men to help when Don is ready to start the real demo and his father whom we know, offered to pay to rent a truck service to bring down building supplies from Santo Domingo when we are ready. The donations from all over the country are getting to most of the people. There are still many that live back in the jungle/forest in what are called “El Campos” that are difficult to reach. But there are many volunteer groups forming to help them and also help everyone LONG term. A lot of military around, but not sure exactly what they are doing, now that search and rescue pretty much over. The military is still dispensing most of the donated items from around Ec. and putting up tent camps. Saw oh so many tents being set up near us that said United Nations Relief. Trucks and machines moving earth and building the bathroom and shower areas so it is done properly. Then the people litterally living on the edge of the road under a piece of plastic will have safe and healthy accommodations. It is still raining almost every night and only a couple of days of good sunshine, so hard to get anything to dry out. People sleeping on wet muddy mattresses and so on.

One Volunteer Group or Foundation that is private (Non Gov’t) has asked Don to join and Don accepted to help. Apparently thru private donations of money and land from landowners in the Jama area, they plan to build small communities that are Eco-Friendly and as self-sustaining as possible. They coincidently are a couple of our long time Ec friends and are fully aware of Don’s construction knowledge along with some solar and wind technology. As many of the local people that are capable will be involved in the hands on work. The volunteers will then teach the people how to maintain and continue to create an Eco-friendly environment. The construction is a bit off, yet plans are in formation. They already have 50 families (in Ec. that could mean several hundred people if not more). Again one person or one group can only do so much. But if more of these groups form up and down the devastated areas of the coast, this will be so positive for the re-building of Ec. in the 21st century.

Physically I am not able to help Don much. However, I do still have a strong and capable mind. I take people into Jama to the minimal hospital almost daily for follow-up care (i.e. change bandages). Also there are still non quake medical needs of the people and there are volunteer doctors coming around occasionally. We are working with 3 other families sharing water, food, etc. And since we have the well, I take them washing/cooking water. We can only help so many. I try to do my part by not complaining, moaning etc. I have only cried once when I got a text telling me about Marly and Ketty. Marly has cut my hair for over 7 years and her sister has done so many toe nail creations for me. Marly died, Ketty in hospital in Santo Domingo, but should be OK, but her daughter was killed plus many more family members. I just can’t talk about all the death and destruction right now or I will fall apart. I have to stay strong for me and for Don. Last thing he needs is a blubbering female. Therefore I turn to humor as my shield. My casual or flippant attitude is all I have to hold onto to get thru this, believe me my emotional pain for the many friends I lost or who were badly injured goes very deep, but I have to keep it buried right now.

I will attach as many pics as possible and then provide more below this post where people make comments. To see all the pics go to my homepage. (Cheryl Papania) You will see our bed (room), living space, dish and body washing space in or at the end of the carport. Now Don said I designed the last kitchen, so it was his turn this time. So our cooking & dining area is on the front porch and extends out under carpas to the patio. He always wanted a kitchen where you can hang the copper bottomed pots and pans, well he did not get that, but he managed to be able to hang 2 pans over the stove. He even hung up the one saved wall clock. He is so proud of his kitchen and he loves to cook.

Throughout all this I only strongly requested one thing; a potty under cover from the rain. Well a 5 gallon bucket, tall kitchen garbage bag (we have lots) and the handicapped toilet seat I used after my hip replacement, he made the “THRONE”. And it is at the end of the covered outside deck that survived. Hell a man that cooks and a Throne, what more can a girl ask for? Oh I know, my electric razor (can’t use a regular razor on my skin), my legs are so hairy I feel like I am a day time werewolf. Don says the longer hair on my legs is much softer than stubbles.

Rambo our Doxie was the most psychology affected. Just today he finally put his paws in the house. When it gets really dark about 7 when the quake hit, he has to be touching or right next to me. He goes absolutely everywhere with us, so our car is like his second home for him. So for a few evenings pre bedtime I put him in the car and he laid right down and went to sleep. For a while he had to be right on my lap and I needed some relief from that. A couple of days before the quake, Don thought he had an abscessed tooth. Our friend Beto from Quito actually went to his vet and got him an antibiotic.

From what I have seen, we and all the survivors after days of still being in shock are trying our best to get on with life. First making our shelters, cooking and sanitation areas, etc. Most people out of work now. Fishermen starting to go back out, but originally they were afraid and many still are afraid, plus not sure how good the fishing is. The quake may have scared the fish into new waters. In times like this, we find what we are truly made of and just how much integrity and morals we have. Unfortunately, there are the ones that are looting and hording. Anybody that was able to save anything, from personal/household goods to mechanics, and other technicians and on and on cannot leave their properties unattended. We sold our truck to a man that will be using it to help the people in the “El Campos” and the guy who bought it brought out a mechanic as the breaks were bad. Now the mechanic can’t come back to finish, because he does not have anyone he can trust to guard his tools and stuff. Our friends on the beach were just starting to build and had a lot of stuff, which some already got stolen right after the quake by opportunity seekers. So either the man or his wife must always be there. Don and I can’t leave our property together, so when I go to Bahia an hour away, I must go alone or hopefully find someone that needs to go to Bahia to go with me.

Well I am writing this in word so all I have to do is copy and paste into FB when I get internet access. . Think I have gone on long enough for my first post on FB since the quake. I know sooo many of you miss my political comments and opinions. I WILL BE BACK, Ha Arr. Don and I have always been a team. God forbid another disaster, we will make it thru this (still in love). Thank goodness he does not need Viagra. Tee hee hee

Words cannot begin to express our gratitude to our family, friends, distant friends, volunteers for the outpouring of help and concern. I have so many to thank, but for now I need to mention the people that came to our aide from Santo Domingo and Quito within the first few days post-quake. And most of them have come more then once.

Jorde and Yadira Loyolla, Rodrigo Bueno, Alberto Bueno, Diego Puente, Paulo Santo from our village, Carlos Couchio the fisherman who doesn’t fish from our village

My daughter, Brorlynn back in the states has helped me a lot and is handling some business stuff for me and other activities on our behalf.

Jack Abercrombie (Journey Man Jack) has been checking on expats along the coast and made it to our house yesterday with drinking water and other items.

From the brief chat I had with my daughter, we know we owe so many people (family and friends) our deepest gratitude.
Don and I do not show our emotions publically, especially the sad and desperate ones or some may say we do not wear our emotions on our sleeves. But believe me we are sad, feeling disparate and we just pray and hope we can keep our physical and emotional health through the very trying times to come.

We lost our home and we do not expect as expats to receive any gov’t aide in our costs and efforts to re-build a safe roof over our heads.
Please keep your prayers and the well wishes coming to us and everyone daily. Besides the contributions I am sure many of you made for the disaster relief, if so inclined we could really use a personal donation to our re-building fund.
In Ecuador: Bank of Pichincha Checking **Cheryl L Day Papania*** acct. #3162500104
In USA please contact my daughter at **** or Facebook Brorlynn Day

Amor, Besos y Abrazos (Love, Kisses and Hugs)
PS: Sure miss “Happy Hour” , but at least I don’t have the shakes or DT’s
A true care package: Box of wine, 6 pack of beer and pack of cigs. Ha ha ha ha


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