Thursday, April 08, 2010

Mudslides in Rio hit my childhood home

The story was on Rio's major newspaper O Globo. The house was designed and built by my dad, an engineer, and been owned by cousin Magdalena since my college days, and this courtyard porch for instance wasn't like that when I was growing up.

Back in 1966 when I was very little, we were also invaded by a similar mudslide--the house is in a residential area in the foothills of the Christ the Redeemer statue mountain. I remember we all spent a month in my aunt's house in Ipanema... while the house was cleaned. Thousands died in Rio on that occasion as several apartment buildings slid down a hill.

What I vividly remember was the certainty of God's presence and the prayers as we camped in the living room with the Nanny while the adults made decisions in the kitchen, he rain roaring outside.... and then piled up in station wagon under torrential, frightening rains and lightning, pitch dark due to lack of power, my dad driving slowly downhill... A man appeared with a flashlight out of nowhere and told him to go around a very long way through a steep hill-- there a huge sinkhole on the road ahead and my dad would have driven the car with all of us, mom pregnant with Number Nine, into it.

The story was repeated at least once a year when I was growing up. My parents have never doubted that the man with the flashlight was a guardian angel. I remember the car struggling to up the other way up a steep hill and my dad having to attempt it several times-- by the grace of God we made it to Ipanema safely, but during that time my mom fell on a wet veranda and was in bed rest until my brother Felipe was born.

Childhood memories are so incredibly powerful.


gmh said...

Powerful, indeed!
Was anyone injured?

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

No, and they are staying with one of the married kids. Thanks be to God.