Love City Chronicles | Week 7
The energy on St. John has shifted in the last week. It is a whirlwind of recovery mode. Lots of traffic, trucks, cars and people on the roads.
The first few weeks after Irmaria St. John looked like Night of the Living Dead. We all walked around shell shocked, hot and exhausted.
Now, instead of tourists seeking the perfect beach day, we have linemen from BBC a Missouri utility company. There are 100 of them with trucks and bucket lifts to set new power lines. They are happy that they will be able to enjoy our perfect weather vs winter in Missouri. We are happy to have them.
Groups of locals have been hired to clear debris from homesites and the side of the road. Other groups are cutting downed utility lines. Instead of seeing your neighbor in her usual work attire, she is now wearing a hard hat and cutting wires. It's busy!!
VITMA holds a 7::30AM meeting on Monday and Thursday at the National Park area.
Representatives from FEMA, Red Cross, US Coast guard, medical, VIYA ( phone company), WAPA,schools, grocery stores, VIFD, VIPD all report on the progress.
I am in my 3rd week of door to door assessment with the DIRT group. There are 1,000 generators arriving this week via the Kenny Chesney group. We are canvassing the island to prioritize the needs. Medical, elderly and families with small children take precedence.
The relief agencies are impressed with the sense of community here. Love City has captured many of their hearts. At the end of the 7:30 am meeting the attendees hold hands while Mr. Prince leads us in prayer. It is touching to experience military, government, police, fire and residents all singing "Lean on Me".
I have developed a routine in this new lifestyle. The closest I have ever come to camping is Ivans on Jost. After Irmaria I am qualified to write an Island Style Glamping Tips column.
More restaurants are reopening with limited hours and menus. Everything is based around rebuilding vs. tourism.
The island is not ready for visitors yet. It's coming back, the trees are back, the beaches are being cleared. It was heavenly to swim at Hawksnest on Friday... the sea grape trees that lined the beach are gone.
One day at a time.