This was a story that was written last Halloween while we were still on Isla Vieques, Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. No electricity, no running water, no cell reception and no Internet. Thus, no posting! Halloween came and went and this one didn’t make it to the website. So we thought that we’d share it with you this year and hope that you enjoy!
One year ago today we were on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico when Irma morphed me from a hurricane amateur, into a hurricane whiz. Unfortunately, when Maria hit ten days later, I became a hurricane pro.
Well folks, I hate to break it to you, but it looks like it’s happening again. This morning, when I checked my phone, I had three tropical storm/hurricane warnings flashing! Three! Florence, Isaac and Helene! September is definitely hurricane month for this part of the planet. They happen. They are serious business and should be taken seriously when they occur.
After what we experienced last year, we’ve had quite a few people ask us what they could have sent and could have done to help people that are suffering through hurricane disasters. So we’ve given it some thought.
This past year we survived hurricanes Irma and Maria on Vieques, Puerto Rico. Maria wiped out the electrical, water and communication infrastructures on the island so that we were without power, running water, cell, and Internet for almost two months.
Grocery store shelves were bare, ice was scarce and the three gasoline stations were closed more often than they were open.
Finding the basics (food, gas, water and ice) was a daily quest. Somedays we got lucky, and other days not. On the “not” days our conversations went something like this.
We’ve learned so much about what it takes to be disaster/hurricane survivors.
Our friend Bill describes Viequense with the three R’s: resilient, resourceful and respectful. The people on Vieques are truly remarkable. But, we’ve added another “R” to his analogy – RELIEF lines.
Daily, if we haven’t stood at least an hour in some kind of line, we feel like we haven’t accomplished anything for the day.
Here’s what I mean.
September 13, 2017 Vieques, Puerto Rico We were lucky. Irma did little structural damage to Vieques. The trees and landscaping were not as fortunate. Huge trees were uprooted and many roads were semi-blocked from branches and debris. The electrical and telephone poles are still standing, but there was some damage to a few power lines. […]
John is a hurricane pro. He grew up in the Parish down the river from New Orleans (St. Bernard) and experienced several major hurricanes and a lot of tropical storms. If you are house sitting in the hurricane belt, during hurricane season on an ISLAND, then he’s the man you want to have around.
I’m a hurricane rookie. Growing up in a suburb of Dallas, I always thought a hurricane was merely a tornado that came from the ocean. I know, I know…silly me. I have a lot to learn.