Having finished with DIRT and soaked up two weeks stateside, I had promised myself, I would create some kind of schedule once 2018 arrived.
Power has been restored to most locations on Island, landline phone and internet are not available. Cell service is spotty. WIFI is only at hot spots.
For a business person this is extremely trying. There are a few hot spots in Cruz Bay. I found Marketplace the best for a few reasons. I could usually get a table, check my mail, see people I needed to, or just enjoy a friend who stopped by.
One of the gifts of Irma is time. It has become abundantly clear to me that each of us wanted and needed this time.
St. John had become known and over exposed. It had lost much of its charm. St John was the starlet that soared to the top. In doing so, it lost some of its soul.
I have had profound conversations with friends and colleagues about their experiences during and after the storms . Imagine an entire community suffering from PTSD? People are stopping and changing their lives. We needed a shake up, and boy did we get one!
I am also hearing from locals of visitors asking for “deals”. I am not sure how someone can think that asking a disaster victim to discount them is ok.
Consider the person you are asking has lost at least 50 % of their business. Not quite the trickle down theory. Unless your business is directly related to the recovery process, business is down dramatically for all of us.
For those who are financially solvent, it may be a well desired break. For those less fortunate it is a major wake up call. Everyone is effected.
Everyday life has slowed down once again and locals have time to chat with each other. We still share our hurricane stories with each other. It’s hard not to focus on what happened, but there is a lot of good coming from it.
From the outside we are looking pretty amazing for 4.5 months, but remember that for the residents, business owners, those who lost homes, those that are displaced, life is anything but normal.
We spend hours filing, SBA, FEMA, insurance, unemployment. Today alone, I was contacted by SBA by mail, 3 phone calls and a personal visit to the Disaster Center. All with conflicting information. One of the calls insisted I had a trust. He read the paperwork from another St Johnians info. After I had spoken F2F at the disaster center, copied my papers for the 3rd time, I get a phone call telling me they are going to cancel my application. It is blatantly clear that they no effective form of communication.
The frustration is evident in everyone. Many acknowledge nightmares and anxiety. We are healing and enjoying having the Island back. Its taking time but its beautiful, it’s clean and it’s pretty amazing.