Volcano makes it even harder for mother of four

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JENNIFER Steven, 42, from Yassa village is one of the many women from Manam struggling to provide for her children while trying to cope with constant volcanic eruptions and accompanying disruptions.
Steven was a lucky mother on Friday because all her four children were at the Potsdam Care Centre when the volcano erupted.
She said she was on the island to find food for her children when the volcano exploded between 5am and 6am and shot out fireworks, smoke, ashes and lava.
She was with her relatives then after rumblings had warned those on the island that a blowout would occur.
The villagers knew what to do from experience so they alerted everyone and quickly the older people located the younger ones, especially children.
Steven said they expected dust but then they heard rain on their rooftops. Not exactly, it was different like sand and small gravel.
“It was scoria,” she said.
“They fell and broke through our roofs and was hot. We took cover in safe zones protecting ourselves from getting hit and burnt by scoria.”
It was about 2pm when the volcano slowed down a bit, stopped spewing. Steven and some village women took on their house cores to find whatever food they could lay their hands on to cook for their starving children. If the volcanic contents weren’t bothering them from the sky, they were hurting people’s feet, fresh scoria was sharp and pierce the foot easily.
But these were people who had experienced volcanic eruptions a number of times on the same island – they were survivors and knew how to deal with the situations.
The soil Steven stepped on was green. Scoria ripped off coconut palms and leaves from Galip trees and covered the ground. It was an unusual site.
Before their village used to be covered with thick white ashes from the volcano but this time it was covered with sharp molten rocks called scoria.