As updates started coming in showing the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and evidence mounted of the devastation to the Caribbean islands in its path, I, like many others, felt an overwhelming sense of woe, sorrow and heartbreak. These islands were not just the location for some of our favorite beach bars, resorts, restaurants and such – they were home to people we had met at those very places and had become friends and family with. At the same time our hearts ached for those businesses, it broke for the people who depended on them.
Irma left a swath of destruction in her wake but it wasn’t the tumbled buildings, flooded streets or crashed cars and boats that I’ll recall the most in future conversations. It’s the stronger-because-we-survived-it sense of community she left behind that I’ll remember. Irma was as strong a storm as we’ve seen in decades but the community dealing with her visit is stronger yet.
Even as they toured their beloved islands and shared with us the videos of the aftermath of Irma, the overriding feeling expressed throughout was one of fortitude as they looked to the future and thankfulness for the lives that were spared. Buildings can be replaced but it’s the loved ones that survived that make it home.
The people of the Caribbean are a resilient lot and I have no doubt that together with our help they will be back stronger and better than ever. It will take months and in some cases years but I look forward to continue telling the story of her recovery and ultimately showing off her new brand new look.