Monday, April 27, 2015

Volcano Calbuco

Well just another week here in Chile, nothing too exciting this week except some volcano erupting. It's only like 40km (25 miles) away from us, not a big deal or anything. Not something I will ever forget, and here's how it all started:

While working on companionship study this afternoon, we received a call from the zone leaders (other missionaries) in Puerto Varras. Elder Marsdon was frantic, and told my companion to immediately call all of the Hermanas in our district and tell them to get to the church immediately. I overheard this commotion, and my companion was just as confused. Elder Ryan asked why, had something bad happened?  And that's when Elder Marsdon frantically said, Volcano Calbuco has just exploded!  Over hearing this, I thought, no way!!! We open our curtains and look outside and see a mushroom cloud the size of a nuclear bomb.  WHAT! We missed a volcano erupting! We immediately started packing for the next 72 hours, we grabbed our kits, some clothes, extra food, made some frantic calls to our district, and quickly departed from the house. I asked Elder Ryan if there was anything we should be worried about, we could see the ash coming, but we definitely had some time before it settled. Elder Ryan then said something that pierced my heart...earthquakes. 

Bags in our hands, we hastily made our way over to the chapel before receiving further instruction.  During this hour, the smoke already miles high in the air, had begun spreading out, but it continued to spew from the top of the volcano like a fountain. Everyone was in awe and amazement as we stood outside, admiring the sheer magnitude and power of mother nature. The city went into red alert, other towns closer to the volcano were being evacuated.  We then received a call from our zone leaders, as to the plan for the evening. We were to go to a member's house and spend the night, but due to the massive amounts of calls, it was almost impossible to connect to anyone. Finally we got through to our Stake President who gladly welcomed us into his home.  We spent the night comfortably and safely, honestly just waiting to see what the plan was. Over night there was another eruption, around 1am, with lava and lightning...but when we woke up in the morning, everything was fine. The ash that had covered us the night before, had been taken away by the wind. It literally all blew north, we are sitting here right next to the volcano, and we have no ash. We were told to spend the day with members, in case anything else happened. Currently, it's very foggy and hazy, but we don't have any ash. The volcano has been steadily pumping out ash for the last couple days and we keep hearing rumors of a third eruption. 

It was definitely a crazy week, but we continued on with our normal plans. To be honest, we enjoyed the view, and have not suffered from any of the consequences. I've heard that the ash has reached Argentina, Uruguay, and is absolutely terrible in Osorno. But we are doing just fine over here, I am safe, and we are well prepared for any disasters.

Successes this week:
  • Survived a volcano eruption
  • Starting to understand the metric system
  • Flooded the church trying to fill up a baptismal font
  • Hit the halfway mark in the book Jesus the Christ
  • Backed up in a bus on the freeway because the driver forgot our stop
That's all I have for this week!
Love to you all,
Elder Haddad

View of the eruption from our house
The church and the mushroom cloud

View of Volcano Osorno (on left) and Volcano Calbuco (on right, behind tree)

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