Muireann taking photos in Uganda

 

Mac Cool's Uganda Letter

Photographs and Stories by Muireann Mac Cool

 

B l o g

The earth moved

27 Feb 2008

Britain woke last night to the sound of rumbling.

People and animals all over Britain woke last night to the sound of the earth rumbling. I was no different (though many in my office claimed to have slept through the whole event) with my bed shaking from side to side waking me instantly. The tremor rippled out from Lincolnshire and measured 5.2 on the rector scale. Francis was still on the computer working away when I awoke. In a crazed and half asleep voice I asked whether that movement was an earthquake- without hesitation Francis confirmed that it was and continued working. I fell back to sleep. In the morning, I was about to recount to Francis my weird earthquake dream when the news reader declared that there hadn't been an earthquake in Britain like it for 25 years.

Although I read plenty about earthquakes in school I didn't experience my first tremor until early 2007 in Uganda. Sadly I don't have a good memory and most of the tremors last year have merged into one. Unlike me, Ian remembers his first earthquake in Britain vividly- this evening he described his childhood bedroom in 1984 shaking dramatically with the metal shelving unit rattling like a train. The last major earthquake that I remember; and I call it that because it lasted for at least a minute and the earth really did quake; took place while Francis and I were in the cinema. Initially the seats and the floor shuck and moved across and back and then they settled but major noise and movement carried on in the projection room right behind us. Nervous giggles erupted as patrons of the cinema started to wonder if it really was an earthquake or that what ever was going on in that room was so powerful that it could shake us in our seats.

I liked when I felt the mild yet infrequent tremors under my feet at work. Only two of us every appeared to have felt them- myself and Martin, one of the leather workshop workers. Musisi, musisi (Earthquake, Earthquake),he would excitedly say and I would run out of my office to confirm- ye Musisi musisi! We'd chat excitedly about the vibrations and deliberate on where or when the real tectonic action would occur. Later in 2007, a volcano erupted in Tanzania.

I've no fear that another will strike our flat in Liverpool again tonight and I count ourselves quite lucky that these tremors are mild. In other parts of the country people are clearing up the debris and assessing the cost. The news is reporting that a lot of chimneys collapsed. Stories are also pouring in from the south and north from people watching Rambo when tremor coincided with an explosion on screen or from people taking pills and wondering if they were going mad. Can you believe people in Scotland and possibly in Holland felt it? Did they feel it in Dublin? I asked our group. Ian, joked 'Did they feel it in Uganda?'

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