Hello everyone and happy Monday. We came across the following message posted yesterday by Andrea Milam Chouinere on Facebook. We thought you’d all enjoy reading it. Andrea gave us permission to share it with all of you.
September 24. Eighteen days since Irma, so I suppose it’s time for the rumors to start flying (though in full disclosure I’ve heard some pretty wild rumors since day one). In recent days I’ve heard that the food supply is dangerously close to running out. The fuel supply is dwindling. The attention that’s been focused on St. John has been sent to Puerto Rico and St. Croix, and the general feeling is that the island of St. John has been left in the dark and it’s only a matter of days before this community descends into full turmoil. People are tense and fist fights are breaking out.
Now as someone who’s actually here on island with no plans to leave can I tell you what I’ve seen? School starts tomorrow. My son’s youth steel orchestra has gotten together twice in the last week to put the pan yard back together and to start making beautiful music again. I’ve shared genuine hugs with people I generally only pass by with a nod. I purchased nectarines, grapes, ground beef, and bacon from Starfish with a local check and an immense amount of gratitude for the opportunity to save our precious cash. I see people waiting calmly in line for MREs and cases of water. I hear people speaking gratitude for the two hot meals a day provided for free by a handful of local restaurants. I see people welcoming others into their homes for shelter, a meal, a cold beer, or whatever they have to offer. I see people accepting the reality of our situation and moving on despite disaster.
Will it all be sunshine and rainbows in the months to come? Of course not! We experienced a direct hit by one of the most powerful hurricanes on record followed by the threat of Jose and getting more than brushed by Maria. But my family and I choose to see the positive. We choose to pick up the pieces and figure out how we can move forward as a community. Those who care about us, please trust me when I say that if we didn’t feel safe or sustainable here we’d evacuate as soon as possible, and this is what I hope those who are not happy here are planning to do. No snark intended. I sincerely hope that those who remain on island are able to help focus on recovery efforts and moving forward, and that those who don’t feel safe here can get somewhere they do feel safe so they can process the trauma we’ve all gone through. Everyone has to make the decision that’s right for them and I don’t fault people on either side.
Above all else I hope that people pause for a moment before sharing the latest sensationalist report with their own layer of fear added on top. I understand that I do not speak for everyone on St. John so I will say with clarity that while we’ve been seriously beaten down by Mother Nature, there is no community the Chouinieres would rather be a part of in such a situation than LOVE CITY!
Side note: Andrea is also a travel writer. Click here to check out her website.