Mother Nature has her way of reminding us of our fragility. For us in the chain of islands making up the Caribbean, getting out of the way is more complicated – we are islands (literally surrounded by water) and small. Of course being in hurricane pathways has bred in us a high level of awareness, preparedness, and responsiveness. But we are still small islands and at a certain point all we can do is surrender, hunker down, and wait…and after the storm get on with the business of doing what needs to be done to get back to normal…until next time. There is a feeling of helplessness that comes with that but we are also a resilient people, and we don’t wallow in that feeling for long – if we give it any purchase at all.
This time around while Antigua was barely touched, our sister island Barbuda was left bare (literally, the island has had to be evacuated after the decimation caused by hurricane Irma)
…and that’s just one island who felt her force as she made her way toward the mainland US (which is, as I write this, awaiting Irma’s landfall). We are in our twin-island Caribbean nation state beginning the process of recovery and there are ways you can help. I wanted to share some links that seem legit (though, please, do your own due diligence):
and a couple more for people off island:
This is a gofundme set up by (Antiguan based in the US) Juneth Webson
There are others. There’s also this facebook group which is steadily updated. These are just some of the avenues I am aware of and feel fairly confident passing on. Support recovery efforts if you can – these are specific to Barbuda but several other countries have also been hard hit (do what you can, if you can).
I have seen social media posts (seemingly out of the US) indicating that we don’t matter either because the posters have never heard of us, because we’re too small to matter, because we’re ignorant for living in a hurricane pathway, because our houses are supposedly poorly built and not because of the 185 mph winds that passed directly over Barbuda, or because we’re doomed anyway – because climate change. I will agree with one thing; we do need to take climate change seriously – it is a factor and, though islands like ours are among the most vulnerable, this is a global problem. The lives of many hang in the balance. The Paris Agreement (which America recently pulled out of) was one step toward combatting climate change. So, in addition to supporting recovery efforts, we can resolve to educate ourselves on climate change and on efforts to mitigate its impact, and do what we can to support and advocate. The lives of every single being on the planet hangs in the balance. We have a saying here, today for me, tomorrow for you; I mention it here not to wish any of the trolls who scoffed at our pain ill but as a reminder that we need to stand together, because we’re all in this together. We, in the Caribbean, grieve and stand with the world when bad things happen anywhere in the world. We are very tuned in to the world (though we know the world is not likewise as tuned in to us) and we care (to wit, our hearts go out to Mexico as well at this time in the wake of the quake there). One of the trolls said we matter only as tourist destinations, and it is true that we live where the world vacations.
Mother Nature smiles on us most days out of the year with her unparalleled beauty, but our size and location notwithstanding, we matter like anyone else, simply because we are.
Okay, this ran longer than I planned…and it’s still my Sunday Post and my Sunday Salon (in part because I’m hoping more people will see it and pass it on). The Sunday Post is a book-related meme run by the Caffeinated Reviewer and Sunday Salon is a book-themed facebook group. So let’s get to the books, shall we.
I moved my review of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys here and, you know, after some of the comments exhibiting willful ignorance re the Caribbean, I can’t rec this one enough.
Meanwhile, my new review this week is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which is my quickest read in a while, mostly because of the hours of waiting before and after Irma – it was a good distraction (I know books are a good way of passing the time, of course, but one of my nephews was reminded of that with the power out. I really do hope he sticks with the book he started reading). This book was given to me by a fellow blogger over at Book Connectors, so I’ll be sharing this there as well.
Also some other quick links in case you missed them -my interviews with the Culture Trip and African Book Addict; my guest posts on Wandering Educators, the Author Dream series, and in the new issue of Anansesem; and this shout out by the Rumpus re my contribution to their letter for kids series and my Carnival flashback – Out Dey!
Happy Sunday and Happy reading and give where and if you can.