Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pakyon Chotda

(The image is from Pongsona, which hit Guam in 2002)

Matto yan ma'pos esta Si Bavi. 

Guam had yet another pakyon chotda this weekend. "Banana typhoon" is a term that people in the Pacific often use to refer to a storm that had some winds, some rain but wasn't too damaging or dangerous. 

It has been more than ten years since the last super typhoon hit Guam and about 10 years since the last typhoon-strength typhoon hit Guam. 

Most of my students haven't been through real typhoon before or only remember ones when they were very young. They are used to the pakyon chotda we've had for the past few years where classes are cancelled but ultimately the power and internet stay on. They have become the equivalent of island snow days. 

In all my classes this week we talked about how people had weathered the storm, and some had stories of tin roofing flying, trees getting knocked over and some losing power for the night. The last pakyon chotda had some flooding in areas, but flooding wasn't as perilous this time around.

One student shared his traumatizing story of the windows rattling at his house, the wind howling and the power going out…for a few minutes. When it came back on something was wrong with his Netflix account and he couldn’t finish the season of How I Met Your Mother that he had been watching. No matter how hard he tried, the episodes just wouldn’t load. 

He was joking about being traumatized but it does make me wonder how Guam today, which has become so wired and internet and electricity dependent would deal with a malamana na pakyo, that might deprive people of utilities for weeks or months like they used to.

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