It has been a while since I have been able to share anything with the readers of Caribbean E-Magazine. Taking into consideration that St.Maarten was one of the islands that got a direct hit from Hurricane Irma on that dreadful, September 6th, 2017, I am more than blessed and grateful to be able to write this article today. I would also like to extend my prayers to my fellow islanders that also suffered major damages as the result of Hurricane Irma & Maria.
Our island suffered damages of life and material that will forever be engraved in our minds. although more than 80% of our infrastructure was damaged, today I am happy to see that we are rapidly rebuilding our 37 square miles of sun shine. The images that circulated in the media after this disaster were beyond disastrous and projected a feeling of devastation that would take us months and years to overcome. Having said this, it is with great pleasure that I can say that we are bouncing back faster than we had ever expected.
Although our houses, buildings, hospitality industry, airport and harbor were severely damaged, our free spirit remained intact. Yes there were many things that could have gone better, and I am hoping that the necessary authorities and our leaders have taken notes and that we can create a contingency plan that is Hurricane proof.
Having said that, I will not focus on the negative aspect of what this hurricane has done with us, or the economic setback that it has placed us in as a country. I rather much focus on the rebuilding phase that started shortly after Irma, and about the various organizations that made it their business to arrive on the island and provide relentless relief and assistance. As a community we saw what it was to have money in your hands and yet we were not able to do anything with it. This shows the real effects of the aftermath.
Besides forcing you to slow down your daily pace of life, it also made you re evaluate the things that are really important in life. It made us re create bonding with your family, it made you understand the meaning of survival in your own country and under the most tedious and challenging circumstances.
It also reminded us, how this world is driven by technology, somewhere along the line you need to find the balance of not continuing to be a slave to it. It took me to embrace my full natural and raw beauty without the glam and perks of a fashion blogger...In actuality I walked around for days in sweat pants and t-shirts. It simply was not my priority, and I had my doubts about ever blogging again.
Luckily for me, I have friends in places, that kept the blog alive in those weeks that I was offline. Surprisingly enough, there were so many people that tried to reach out to me and see how me and my family were doing. I was blessed that although I did not have presence on line, opportunities were waiting for me in my inbox.
I am a hurricane survivor since 1995, when St.Maarten experienced Hurricane Luis as a Category 4. At that time being a teenager, I relied on my parents to give me that sense of security and assurance that everything was going to be all right. Twenty Two years after, it was my turn as a parent to look after the well being of my son and my mom and to reassure them that we were going to be OK....most times as I told them those words, I had to force myself to believe them as well.
The community came out and cleaned, and work to get back the operations of our island back on track. Airport will host commercial flights as of October 10th, and our unforgettable harbor will receive the first Cruise ship on November 11th, which is also St.Maarten's Day.
Our island is dependent on (stay over) tourism, and this is where the rebuilding focus is. The projections were negative, and to some degree we are still on that negative travel advisory list. But the people that will fly in, will do so , because they have a love for St.Maarten that is beyond disaster. They are coming to help and assist our nation in the rebuilding process that will make #St.MaartenWillSmileAgain (official slogan after Irma.
By Kenty Lichtenberg of:
FB: Kerai Kreative Style