AFTERMATH USVI & BVI
Do you want to know the state of the state after Maria and Irma in the USVI and BVI?
This report is a hopeful one!
On average, the Virgin Islands have hurricanes pass nearby, every 3 years, and are directly impacted every 8 years. The situation on the ground is fairly extreme here as far as manmade structures are concerned; they are either in ruins or newly rebuilt, with not much in-between. This is a consistent observation throughout these islands. There are still many roofs covered with FEMA blue tarps. Work does continue, however, as we see lumber and concrete block stockpiled in front of many devastated buildings, just waiting for laborers. Alternatively, there are also many homes, marinas and beach facilities (including beach bars!) that are beautiful, new, and already supporting a healthy yachting population of cruisers and vacationers.
Although devastation pervades not only the buildings and towns, but the natural environment, hope abounds. The locals are happy and helpful everywhere we went, especially in Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda. We managed to visit a fruit and vegetable stand on the side of the road there, just when more produce was delivered. The neighbors came out in force for the fresh avocados, mangos, papayas, pineapple and tomatoes (locally grown in The Dominican Republic.) Being no stranger to Farmer’s Markets, this was fun for me! In Charlotte Amalie, on St. Thomas, Judith, the owner of E Teas, explained how she missed their own fruit trees (destroyed by the storms,) but is heartened by the daily improvement she sees all around the island. We noticed, too, the green flush on all the plants from the rain showers that have begun after the dry winter season.
Life goes on with flowers blooming and baby chicks running wild on every inhabited island. Many of the Turpentine trees appear dead- but look closely… new growth is sprouting everywhere! Likewise, the community is rebuilding at a steady pace. We found improvement just within the few weeks we’ve been here; traffic lights are now functioning on St. Thomas (even though Captain Jim believes that traffic flowed better without them.) So come, bring your friends, enjoy a holiday in these beautiful US and British Virgin Islands. Your on-shore experiences will ensure a boost to the lovely people here and the local economy, and will be ones to remember for a lifetime!