Well, hurricane dean has come and gone and everyone I know personally is safe and mostly unaffected.
Thankfully, the worst that happened in Belize City was lots of wind and rain. There was enough thunder and lightening in the beginning to freak me out, but that subsided and the rest was just gusts of wind. A few fences were knocked down, some vendors stands were turned over, and rain puddled into houses, but that is it. And truthfully, that’s not altogether different from a regular storm here. The scariest thing for me, at least, was reading online and watching the news. At one point I read a headline that said “hurricane dean turns into a category 5 monster.” There were so many uncertainties and possibilities of disaster---my mind was reeling. The six of us were huddled around one computer looking at projections and wind speeds and damage already done in Jamaica and Haiti. One of my roommates finally said that we had to turn the computer off and go play cards or something because there was nothing to be done but waiting at that point.
Today everyone is thanking God and exclaiming how blessed and lucky we are. My supervisor said that if the hurricane had come one centimeter lower, it would have been devastating. I’m not sure where the centimeter comes in, but I can only imagine Belize City if it had been hit worse.
I haven’t been able to check up too much on Corazol and Orange Walk yet. I hear that families are displaced, crops were lost, and houses were ruined. I am anxious to learn the full extent of the damage.
My roommates and I made out like bandits during the hurricane, which was terrible and strangely great. We spent Monday to Tuesday with the Jesuits at St. John’s College (SJC). Minus lifting heavy boards to cover all the windows on multiple floors and moving things from the verandas, including the Jesuits’ entire collection of plants (seriously, who needs an entire rainforest in your house when you live basically surrounded by the jungle!?!?!), it was like a vacation for us. It was wonderful in so many ways. It is always great to get a break from our house, so spending the night with at SJC was fun. It was relaxed, unstructured time for us to hang out and get to know each other better without the pressure of being on retreat or having anything else that we should be doing. Ummm, also, the Jesuits have TV AND INTERNET, so while the power was still on, you bet we took advantage of that. And last, they fed us! Man, we ate so well. The Jesuits have multiple kinds of cereal (we have none) AND real milk (we have KLIM, powdered milk). Oh my gosh---we ate so many bowls of cereal. I think we finished each meal with cereal. We may have given the Jesuits the impression that we starve normally, which is entirely untrue, but our enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of hot water (oh yeah, forgot to mention that) and cereal were overwhelming! It was hard on the psyche though, to know that the hurricane was treating us so well and others so poorly.
That’s the update for now. Thanks to everyone for thoughts and prayers during the scary last few days. The people of Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and northern Belize (and everyone else affected) still need those, so keep ‘em coming!