By Soraya, age 17, Texas
I walked out of my house this morning. I stood outside in the middle of the street. I took a good look at my surroundings to find myself in a place never expected, a place I was used to seeing by now, but the view took my breath away in a matter of seconds. I cried for joy, I cried for sadness.
I live in Houston, Texas. My home is located approximately 30 minutes away from Galveston. Hurricane Ike has changed the way I look at the small things in life. I took everything for granted - running water, electricity, even the a/c. So far I've been without electricity for a week. (We finally got a generator.) I can say that it's been extremely difficult. My house is surrounded by trees, which is beautiful since it's relaxing and shady. That's what attracted my parents to this place, a place that has been mine for a long time.
Saturday morning around 2:00 am I awoke to the sound of a great force of wind, blowing without compassion. It was loud. My window which was secured by plywood, was unable to keep out the terrible sound my ears were hearing. I remember crying and being so afraid. My house was surrounded by trees - how could I sleep?! I stayed up the whole night worried and unable to go back to sleep. I remember praying for my loved ones and for everyone else.
The next morning around 11:00 am I walked the empty street. The wet cement and the cloudy skies got me into a depressing mood. It was a very gloomy day. I looked at my backyard and saw how a tree was torn out from its roots and thrown into our backyard. I walked into my neighbor's house and saw another tree pulled from its roots and thrown into the yard. I was astonished by the force of wind. I was extremely aware of how we aren't anything but humans, of how in a matter of seconds our lives could be over.
I don't think I will ever take something small for granted again. Two trees that could have fallen on top of our house and caused great damage still stand. We use a generator in the meantime, but it's still not enough. I'm thankful that we are fine and alive. I was watching the news and saw footage of how Galveston is now. It completely broke my heart and my soul had sorrow. A great emotion of hope for those who need it grew in me.
I've been to Moody Gardens, located in Galveston, with my family many times. Moody Gardens is not the same. It almost felt like something valuable died. It's sad to know that millions of people have lost the one place they called home.
May our prayers be with the families who have lost a family member, and those who have lost it all ... God will make everything alright, and hopefully in this great grief, we can all come together and be able to make it through.