There’s so much to say. The trick is to pick the right words.
I feel many things;
Happy that 2013 is ending; It was a rough one. Sad that it has ended this way – with grief stricken people all around our island #SaintLucia.
As the year began, it was easy to be judgmental and say that we did not take the recession seriously. It was easy to blame us and say we still did not really understand that we should save more and spend less; there was a spirit about us that was alive despite all of the challenges.
I feel sad because I have a home; I have a warm bed; I have food and electricity and water. But I should be thankful.
I was thankful because we did not get hit by hurricane or tropical storm this year. I was torn with grief because people in the Philippines were devastated by the worst typhoon in their history.
I was mindful that many people did not have the economic means and were not going to be over zealous with their Christmas shopping this year. For months this feeling was reflected in the nightly news as people spoke repeatedly about the effects on their pockets since the introduction of the Value Added Tax in October of 2012 and on the lack of jobs in the country. So there was a feeling of hopelessness. I did not miss that.
But still we approached the Carnival and the Jounen Creole celebrations with the usual joie de vivre that is so Saint Lucian. That is so typical. We enjoy and we celebrate; we are simple in our pleasures.
I saw that the malls were empty even as we drew nearer to Christmas; The week of the 20th started and there was no great surge in the shopping. That was expected. It was the rains on December 23rd that were completely unexpected. For weeks there was an uncanny rainfall pattern. It would be sunny for an hour, the rains would come; it would be sunny for half a day, the rains would come; it would be sunny for a few hours, the heavens would open and the rains would pour down for half a day, and so it went from the beginning of December.
It was no different on Tuesday December 23rd and I knew there would be no hanging-out-of-clothes to dry. But of course I was planning on making one more trip into Castries – last minute gifts still to buy that I could no longer postpone. Skies were grey and I knew that the sun was not coming out. The rains came. It was a repeat of the Hurricane Thomas kind of rain of three years ago. It would not stop. There was the incessant thunder and lightening as well, but no wind. Maybe that was good.
In the aftermath, Christmas has come and gone; people have died. Bridges have been washed away. Homes have gone, with all of their memories and everything. One lady said she was cooking all of the meat that they had because their refrigerator had gone. That is the joie de vivre that I meet. And it makes me feel better. Our spirit will not break; our roads will, our hearts might, but there is that something that will make us roll over and “cook that meat” until the next rains come, even while we wait for pipe borne water to wash down the red mud that the rivers have left behind. Major water catchment areas have been washed out to sea. We wait. It is a dark time and 2014 is 5 days away. I feel many things. We wait.