Well, after much macho, Alpha Male posturing and threatening, Irma’s mate Jose stamped his foot, flipped his cape and turned north in plenty of time to miss us head on and to act out the worst of his anger over the Atlantic. Phew! What a blessing! Our small island has had quite enough to deal with.
When I look at the radar picture showing Barbuda in the eye of Hurricane Irma and us just thirty-nine miles to the south my stomach churns and I break out into a cold sweat.
And still she races forward. How many people have had their lives changed for every by just ONE hurricane? Barbuda, St Martin, BVI, Guadaloupe, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba all suffered severe flooding and had whole towns razed to the ground. And now Florida is taking the brunt, although apparently she’s slowed down to a Tropical Storm.
The operation to evacuate everyone from Barbuda before Jose could strike was amazing. The only answer I can come up with when people ask, “Why Barbuda?” is that Antigua could give help to Barbuda that Barbuda couldn’t have given to Antigua. Ferry boats, catamarans, fishing vessels and helicopters all played their part in bringing people across to safety and shelter out of Jose´s way.
And to see the number of people giving and helping at the Multi-Purpose Centre in St John’s was heart-warming. There was a whole army of volunteers sorting out all the donations and a continual coming and going of people who have very little bringing stuff to help those who have nothing. I took toiletries and sanitary protection and baby formula and nappies. Those who follow my journal will know how my finances have faired for the last few months. And it’s thanks to friends and family who generously lent me funds that I have eaten. I figured that my credit card is so far in the red, a bit more wouldn’t matter. People had been kind to me and now it was my turn to pay it forward. How could I not help these people who had lost everything?
I also took some clothes and kitchen utensils and pots and pans which is what they were asking for. These proud people of Barbuda are going right back now that Jose has passed and they are going to start rebuilding their island, NOW!
It’s quite hard to take in that not only have I come through two hurricanes – one a Category 5 – in three days, but that I and my little house have come through unscathed; just a few palm fronds on the ground. My very good friend C, who is a very wise Woman has said that there must be a very special purpose for me. Who knows? It’s been a strange two days, though, since Jose went through.
I’ve felt absolutely exhausted. I spent two afternoons lying on the sofa watching tennis. I just about managed to summon the energy to cheer when Rafa won the US Open, his sixteenth Grand Slam. Hooray! On Saturday night I slept for ten – yes TEN – hours. And today, I just can’t get going. I know that part of this is to do with running out of my Little Yellow Pills and not taking them for two weeks, starting only again on Friday. But it´s more than that. It’s a strange feeling. But I’m not pushing myself. I will take it easy for as long as I need; until my Little Yellow Pills kick back in and I’m running around again.
And, once again, thank you so much to everyone who contacted me and sent messages of love and support – it meant so much to know so many people were thinking of me.