Hurricane Ike causes devastation
Sep30

Hurricane Ike causes devastation

While Hurricane Ike did not hit Bell County with much more than storm clouds, many university students worried about friends and family who live in the storm’s path throughout other parts of the state. Freshman elementary education major Emily Cherrier is from Texas City, Texas. Her family decided not to evacuate. “I was extremely worried because Texas City was right in the middle of the projected path,” she said. Cherrier’s family went to her grandfather’s house because of its past success with strong storms. She said, “They also boarded up all the windows, bought lots of water and food, filled the tub with water, brought in all the pets and prayed.” For a while, Cherrier was not very concerned about the hurricane. “When my mom told me they were putting valuables up high and boarding up the windows, I realized it was serious,” she said. “They didn’t want me to worry, so they tried to down play the situation, but I could tell they were more concerned than they were letting me see.” She tried to do normal activities on the day Hurricane Ike hit, like campus run and cheering with the Couch Cru at the UMHB football game against Southern Nazarene University, but she found the day was still stressful. Cherrier said, “My first Crusader football game was definitely a nail-biter, not because of a close score or anything, but because the entire time all I could think of was my family bunkered down and preparing for a storm. I felt like I should have been there with them. That night was very restless. I’ve never felt so helpless.” During and after the storm hit her hometown, Cherrier worried about her family who would be affected. “It was really nerve-wracking for me because I had a hard time getting through to them on my cell phone,” she said. “But when I could get through, at one point my mom told me water was beginning to leak down the walls some, and the wind was very strong. But again, she tried to mask any fear she was having.” Her family’s homes had little damage, but houses nearby were heavily damaged. The main issue was water and electricity. “My family got (utilities) back after about three days, but I know some people did not get electricity again until just (Sept. 23).” Cherrier said her family got through the storm and the aftermath with God’s power. “My family has been so blessed,” she said. “I am so thankful for everyone’s prayers and support. It helped so much— more than anyone will ever know.” Junior social work major Kaitlen Allen is from...

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Making America Home
Sep24

Making America Home

With the echo of gunshots arousing fear into the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, sophomore soccer player Imani Innocent and his cousin run with a crowd of fellow villagers. They don’t know where they are running, but they know they have to keep running. Both are just 8 years old. Goma is located on the border with Rwanda, the area ravaged by genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi that led to the violent deaths of countless people. It was a day in 1996 just like any other. “We were just eating lunch,” he said. “(Then) we heard gun shots. People were shooting. Me and my cousin just took off and left my family behind,” Innocent said. “We just followed the crowd. Everybody was running with babies on their backs and mattresses on their heads.” Innocent and his cousin spent the night next to strangers, not knowing whether their parents were dead or alive. Looking for a Familiar Face “So in the morning, we started looking in everybody’s face … to see if there was anybody that we know, like part of the family, and there was no one,” Innocent said, “So we almost gave up hope.” Soon after, one of their relatives spotted them, and they were reunited with the rest of the family. They made plans to travel the three-day journey to safety in his mother’s village, Masisi. Innocent said, “If you were in a car, they would take you out and kill you and take the car. Genocide from Rwanda was affecting the lives of people in the surrounding countries, such as the Congo. In Masisi, where his grandfather was the pastor of the local church, his family tried to get back to life as normal. “There we started all over again. We had a house,” Innocent said. He started attending school, where students were taught French and Swahili, the language spoken in central and eastern Africa. Unfortunately, peace of this small village near the border of Rwanda was short-lived. Facing Danger Again “We had everything going,” Innocent said, “but it wasn’t long before war broke out again.” This time Innocent says he was “smart enough” to stay with the family. “We all waited at the same place … we went to a bush that was nearby to hide ourselves,” he said. Within moments their ability to remain unseen behind the leaves became a matter of life and death. “My mom said, ‘I don’t trust this place. Let’s move into the bush a little bit. I don’t trust that this can keep them from seeing us.’” The family quietly made their way farther into...

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