Monday, August 20, 2007

Hurricane Dean

As many of you may remember, earlier this summer our family took our first cruise. We spent seven glorious days in the Caribbean. Now, some of the places we fell in love with are being pummeled by Hurricane Dean.

I think of Cozumel with its beautiful blue water. An island just now fully recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Wilma a few years back. The tiny island of Roantan, Honduras, where the impoverished people welcome the cruise ships with much fanfare. But the one that weighs heaviest on my heart, is the small Mexican village of Mahahual.

Approximately two hours north of Mexico's border with Belize, Mahahual overlooks the Caribbean ocean. Many of its citizens live in nothing more than shanties, others have crude cinder-block homes. Nothing is on stilts as we are so used to seeing in coastal homes in the U.S.

I think of the small school house where children excitedly played on the tiny wooden jungle gym. The smiles on their faces. The local entrepreneurs who bombarded us with their wares as soon as they had the chance, knowing that the sharks tooth necklaces they could sell three little boys would bring in nearly a week's pay.

After we purchased a few souvenirs, at very good prices I might add, the salesmen left us alone. We sat across the narrow gravel road from the beach, talking with our guide, Rene, while our boys combed the shallow ocean waters for treasure. Over the next hour or so, I fell in love with Mahahual and its inhabitants.

In America, we stress about everything. And yet we have so much. These people have so little, yet they are so rich. They are content. Happy.

Earlier this morning, the eye of Hurricane Dean passed over this little village packing 200 mph winds and a multi-foot-deep storm surge. It has no doubt wiped out Mahahual. Will it recover? Probably. The little fishing village has been there for centuries. But what about the people? Could they even afford to evacuate? How will they rebuild?

Some people would say it's what they get for living on the coast. Yet, when it's all you know, how do you pick up and start over somewhere else?

Hurricanes are devastating wherever they strike. But the thought of having everything taken away from people who have so little tugs at my heart like never before. No longer is it just pictures on the news. It's real.


  1. We take for granted what we have in this country. We have insurance to help us recover. Do these folks even have that? I feel so uneducated and helpless. My heart goes out to these people.

  2. Mindy,
    First of all I love Cozumel. It's one of my fav cities to go to.
    I've never heard of the other city you mentioned that they love so much, but I know you were praying for them and their safety.
    It is funny how we obsess over what we obsess over. We do have so much, yet like you said, they are so rich.
    Thats what I found in Mexico, also.
    Your post really brought home everything I felt when I went there.
    In my photos of the children, sometimes the clothes don't match, or fit. Yet they don't care.
    Thanks for reminding us what is real, what is true.

  3. Mindy, thanks for sharing. I was worried about the country as I watched the news coverage. But your connection makes it much more real. I hope they'll recover. Will pray for that.