Sep 3, 2007

Hurricane Felix Tests Us

Everyone we know is pretty drained and frazzled. We were all trying to get back to normal after Hurricane Dean. Despite all the reassurances that everything was fine here and the fortunate outcome that no one was seriously injured or killed, these storms take their toll.

Every day we still have constant reminders of how 'lucky' San Pedro was after Hurricane Dean. Most of the docks remain twisted and broken, with pieces of them floating and bobbing in the sea. The beaches are different and it is less tempting to walk barefoot on the sand because of the debris remaining. We also know, from our friends and neighbours who retreated to Orange Walk and Corozal that there was a lot more damage than anyone realised at first. The government reckons 100millionBZD of damage. Money that this country can ill afford. Many jobs have been lost in the fruit industry. So sad.

But it is more than the obvious and the structural. Preparing for hurricanes is emotionally draining. While everyone is buzzing on adrenaline, the side effect is that we are all more irritating and irritable. We work together to help eachother prepare and all strengthen our support networks at the same time, we are all worried for ourselves and eachother. With Dean there were definite moments of terror and we don't know anyone that didn't think that there was a risk of serious injury or death for just a moment when it was bearing down on us as a full Cat 5 with the news commentators screaming about it's record breaking power.

There are emotional highs and lows and then, following the storm, exhaustion and an attempt to regroup and recover. Unfortunately, we have not had that luxury. All we can do is try to maintain some semblence of normality while watching the Caye empty again. The roads are quiet, the beaches deserted, there are no boats on the water and the shops are full of people, some grim faced, some joking and laughing with borderline adrenaline pumped hysteria.

Friends and relatives again phone and email, imploring us to leave, warning us of all the horrible things that might happen and if you are staying you have to grit your teeth and stick to your guns while still letting them know how genuinely important it is to you that they care that much. How disappointed we would be if our friends and family didn't care that much. Lets hope we don't disappoint you with our decisions.

We are tired. Hurricane Felix is now not as threatening as he was yesterday. We are not letting down our guard and we know that if we don't get hit, some other community will and that community may not have concrete buildings and safe places. We don't wish this on anyone and we don't want it ourselves. All we can do is use this as an opportunity to reflect on what and who is truly important to us. Hurricane Felix is testing us in many ways.

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