TORTOLA, BVI – Hi everyone, it's been a few days since all hell broke loose, and I've finally been able to get in my car and venture forth to do some normal things like go to a grocery store and see/help friends, but the situation is so abnormal. Here are some of the things that were part of my day on my island home....
Coming down into town I witnessed at eye-level, all the destruction I'd been watching from my hill - cars upended, favorite restaurants demolished, businesses that I loved obliterated. People's lives and livelihoods, changed forever. The cars with missing windows or damaged were a badge of survival - "we cannot be stopped!" they said.It is mind-numbing to see, at every turn, a landmark that you expect will always be there, just wiped from existence.The mothership grocery store, Rite Way at Paseo was opened yesterday. In the blazing heat of the morning sun, we waited over an hour to get in. There were several police representatives controlling the numbers in the store - I assume to prevent the kind of looting that took place at my own neighborhood satellite store at Prospect Reef. Thankfully they were well-stocked because I was on a supply run for my hill neighbors and my Nanny Cay people. I lend my good fortune to those in need. People on this island are strong and resourceful and compassionate . They brought their phone chargers to RW, to make the wait worthwhile. Some divided and conquered - splitting some family members to stand in line with a can for gas and others for food. There were even people huddled outside Digicel for free wifi! I met tourists being devoured by mosquitos who didn't seem to know that there are ways to discourage them from eating you. They were told by the US State Dept that they couldn't get on a flight before next Sat. They chose to charter a boat during hurricane season then didn't comprehend that hurricanes happen... and their accommodations weren't up to par, and it was hot....and these were the nice ones. I saw friends at Nanny Cay with that vacant look of shock and distraction that comes with surviving major trauma, perhaps a war. And I saw first-hand what we've all seen in pics and video.
Incomprehensible then, but these are people's lives and businesses and it's just too big to register. In fact, as I ventured out to the West End, dodging downed power lines and poles, tree trunks, torn up roads and debris, taking in the landscape of skeletal remains of the trees from my once-lush island home, I felt I would run out of room in my heart to hold all of these lives that had been upended - just like their cars. Buildings are hollowed, boats are dry-docked against their will, businesses are bleeding their goods onto the streets as people picked through the retail rubble, trying to make something come of this disaster. And when I came back to my beautiful hilltop, I could breathe again because my new storm-survivor family greeted me with joy. And the patriarch of this family, who've been here for generations, said, "We are strong. We will rebuild. We have to rebuild." And we will. In the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day"...onward. Changed forever. #BVIStrong
[Arrticle above courtesy of our Facebook friend, and latest contributor to Sailing Illustrated, Christine Perakis. Video above, "Nanny Cay Marina the day after Hurricane Irma" by Adam Dell via YouTube. –TFE]
Photos courtesy of Christine Perakis' Facebook page, with descriptions there.
Photos above courtesy of Doyle Sails BVI, via their Facebook page.