There are so many things I want to tell you. So many fun silly stories from my cruise. Idiotic pictures, pure vacation folly. But I can't. I can't bring myself to type about those stories. I have told a few friends what happened but each time, in the back of my head, have been thoughts of what was happening at the time we were cruising throught the Mexican Riviera. We were joking about the rough water, drinking pina coladas, gorging ourselves on food, and all the while there was an entire city going underwater. A city of people rendered completely helpless by their position in society or desire to protect their posessions. And there I was basking in the sun.
I know I did nothing wrong, but I feel so guilty. We were kept almost completely in the dark during our cruise. We had CNN, but I never like to watch TV on vacation and until Wednesday, we hadn't turned it on but for a couple minutes on Sunday to look at the radar to see if the waves we were hitting were, in fact, from the hurricane, then it was off again.
I just can't fathom it. I just can't imagine your home, everything you own, your pets, maybe even a family member gone--in that way. It's just brutally sad.
I am glad I have volunteered some. I want to go back. It was cathartic, at least for a few minutes. It is so sad yet so hopeful down there. At Reunion. All sorts of people are there to help. All they want to do is work fast and get these people some daily comforts like clothing and a toothbrush.
The whole area for "shopping" is a mess. There is no way to keep up with it. To set it up properly. Clothing is piled on the ground by sizes, small, medium, large, x-large, xx-large. Just big piles. The evacuees have to sift through it all to find things that will fit. There are very few people down there with leadership skills. There
are a lot of people who want to help but they get there and have no idea what to do. I guess I have spent a lot of time around planner and leader personalities, because I was surprised by this. Both days I went down there I found myself organizing people and efforts.
On Saturday, there were a few mothers volunteering with their children. The kids were generally between 6 and 10. And they looked completely bewildered. At one point, a brother and sister just sat down. Not out of exhaustion, but out of shock. Their face were frozen with their little mouths slightly open, eyes wide. Saturday was when this all hit me. Hit me for real.
A mother was explaining to her daughter how this is what they would do. She said, "this is what we would do if we lost everything." Her daughter was looking up at her wide-eyed and confused. "We would come down here, and get the things we needed. We would be like these people. We would need everything, because we would have nothing." The girl and I looked at her with tears in our eyes.
I think I am going to get certified by the Red Cross for volunteering. I want to be able to help. To be ready if they need me. I found this weekend, I have the right personality to help. I was able to organize, and to keep spirits up. Two things I think they could always use more of. I just wish it wasn't something like this that made me realize how much I want to help.
Here are a couple more pictures from the relief efforts at Reunion.