She felt Goosebumps all over her body when I asked her ‘how did you get through the June 3 disaster?’ This question brought out a flood of emotions but with a brave face Abigail Twumasi opened up to me and narrated the entire encounter. This is how she got through the worst day of her life.
It was a Wednesday and she had closed early from work (an NGO called Open Learning Exchange Ghana) because she had some transactions to do at GCB Circle Branch adjacent the Goil fuel station that caught fire. The transaction failed, so she had to take the huge sum of money home. Coincidentally, Abigail fellowshipped with the SDA church at circle which was behind GCB and annex to the Goil fuel station, since it was Wednesday she decided to go for midweek service and also organize some church documents whiles she waits for service. At church, it came to her notice that some of the documents she needed was on her laptop at home, so she called up her cousin and asked her to bring the laptop to her at church. Her cousin arrived and she asked her to stay and keep her company whiles they wait for the service to commence.
As they enjoyed each other’s company, it begun to rain. A normal downpour they thought and will stop soon. Whiles waiting for the rain to subside, she got a call from the brother who informed her to wait at the church premise he would come and pick them up because he was dropping another uncle at the VIP station in circle. Abigail and her cousin therefore decided to wait for the free ride home. The rains were getting heavier now, yet they hadn’t gone out to see the amount of heavy rains pouring until the rain begun to enter the church. At that moment, some members had arrived for the mid-week service but were waiting for a full house to begin the service.
The rains came with so much force that the church begun to fill up with water so Abigail and her fellowships had to rush to the podium but the water kept rising. Fear for their dear lives they packed all the electrical gadgets to a higher reach whiles they stood on stacked plastic chairs. A little while and before Abigail’s very eyes, she saw the church bench float in the water. Just when she got scared that the water will seep into the electrical, the light went off. Trying to stand firm on the stacked chairs, she realized that the least mistake of moving her feet, she would be carried away with the chairs or fall into the water.
“It was 8pm and there was darkness, I couldn’t walk in the water because if I did I would have drowned”.
According to Abigail some of the women who came for the midweek service had to be carried on the backs of the tall men to be taken outside. As they got outside, the water reached their necks, she could smell fuel in the water and in the air but was not too sure where it came from. In her quest to survive the flood that came with swiftness, some of the male fellowships climbed the urinal cubicle to search for a safe ground and see the depth of the rain, only for their eyes to behold fire floating on water and people screaming and crying. The men descended and shouted run. Now where was she going to run to?
She climbed the metal rails used on the church walls to get to the other side. In a haste her clothes got ripped by the rails but she managed to get to the other side which was also flooded and had people swimming to safety.
“I thought the other side was safe until a guy in the flood pulled me up back to cling on the rails instead for safety”
Meanwhile her cousin who she had called to come over to keep her company and wait for the midweek service had been swept away by the flood. She had to hold on to the metal rails for hours because their life was at stake. It was a miracle and an intervention from God when she realized that the fire which was floating on the water had diverted its route.
As she became weary and tired, she gathered all her strength to climb back into the church premises. Most of the church members were youth with a few older women so they decided to hold on to each other and walk in the flood to the GCB car park where they had been told there was an overloaded trotro (bus) with survivors. This bus was their safe haven. Hours in the trotro, she became numb because she was drenched in so much water. She felt cold and shivered a lot.
It was still raining when she felt the urge to go search for her cousin. With her torn outfit, she went looking all over their vicinity for her. She lost hope and begun to assume she was dead. With so much fear, frustration, anguish and anxiousness, sadness and tears begun to swallow her in an emotional turmoil and she started blaming herself for inviting her cousin over. Finding herself in the church auditorium, she was able to secure her bag which she hanged so high intact with the company money worth ghc2000 and her phone. She unlocked her phone only to see her cousin’s picture which according to her she found it so hard to look at because the thought of she being dead tossed in her mind like a bouncing ball. A lot of calls came through from the family to ask of her safety and that of her cousin which she found so hard to respond to.
“How was I going to tell my mother, brother and uncle that i had lost my cousin in the flood?”
It was 11pm when out of the darkness a shadow of two people approached the church entrance. Low and behold it was Abigail’s cousin. She was overjoyed as she rushed to hug her cousin so hard for not losing her life in the flood. She and another friend narrated how they were swept away by the swift flood to circle market, and they had to hold on to the padlock of some shops for survival. Due to her cousins outfit she wore which was a football jersey with her name written at the back, she was identified and taken to safety. Her safety was also a Mercedes Benz bus which conveyed victim of the flood disaster to safer grounds.
Honestly speaking, she does not know why God kept them alive that day because they were jot better than any of the people who lost their lives but were saved. With all the scratches on her body, she was thankful because other people had experienced worst things than this. Her uncle who was on his way to pick them up also got stuck in his car but they were also saved.
On her way home, Abigail said she recounts seeing dead bodies lying on the roads and almost everywhere. The Goil station and houses had been burnt down. She later got to know the intensity of the fire and flood disaster when she saw it on TV. She didn’t think she could survive this disaster. It was the prayers she prayed for a second chance that made her overcome the struggles.
“It was all by God’s grace. After the incident coming to church and circle was a hustle for me because the moment I get to church I begin to tear up and cry. After this tragic event anytime it gets cloudy in circle all the church members vanish”
Abigail was affected psychologically. Anytime she steps into the church premises she recollects how the water was so much and had filled the whole church. She wonders where all that water passed and how the land dried up as if nothing had happened.
Her life lessons from this event is that we are humans and anything can happen to us anytime. It has made her value life, respect people, be humble as you don’t own your life. She has also learnt how to let go, not hold grudges against people and most importantly to forgive.
“That night I called people I hadn’t talked to for a long time to apologize and ask for forgiveness.
Having never experienced such horror, three words that got Abigail Twumasi through her worst day of her life was; PRAYERS, HOPE AND FAITH.