Story by Red Cross contributor, Jackie Drake
Call it misfortune or plain old bad luck, but the past two years of Ebere Abanobi’s life have been a series of lifechanging events.
She moved from Africa to Texas in search of a better life with her husband and children. She lost her husband and child in a deadly car crash only weeks before Tropical Storm Imelda made landfall. Alone in a foreign country with no job and a toddler, she was miraculously awakened by her son the night she was rescued from Imelda’s flood water. Her son’s nudges caused her to wake up and she realized something wasn’t right. With her broken leg still in a halo from the car crash, she attempted to lower her feet onto the floor when she realized the water was almost as high as the bed. A neighbor on the floor above heard her screams and ran down to help, pulling her and her son up a flight of stairs.
She starts off telling this story very matter of factly as if she’s on auto pilot, only to fall into sobs, thankful that her son woke up and saved them. A Red Cross mental health volunteer saw and heard Ebere’s cries and walked over to join the conversation.
“Red Cross is one of the organizations I admire a lot”, she says, giving her son small candies as she speaks. “I feel like Red Cross is my comfort in this disaster.”
Ebere, like many families who lost everything, came in contact with the Red Cross when she was brought to the Central Magnet High School shelter in Beaumont. She expressed gratitude for the blankets, food and referral of resources to help get her life together.
“I discussed my future plans and I feel like they got me.”
Through a network of community services and connections, the Red Cross has continued to guide and support Ebere through her journey to self sufficiency.