A Memory of Maria: End of week 1
My second trek up my farm road was easier. It became easier every time I did the walk, as I shed lbs and built stamina. Our formerly dependent Pajero never started after Maria, and much hardship accrued to us from not having a vehicle. In the weeks to come I became accustomed to the “bus culture” and skilled at begging for rides. So low did the mighty fall.
On day 6 I set out to visit my friends Reggie and Ken Armour. Mr. Reggie is the owner of Eden on Sea estate where we live. Walking the 2 miles to their home was a daunting task, but I got a ride halfway. Shared rides became a feature of the recovery.
Shared rides became a feature of the recovery.
One of my most heartbreaking experiences was observing a man cooking on a two burner gas stove on a table set in the middle of his house floor slab. His meager possessions were stacked under the table, and there were no walls. Like so many, a lifetime of achievement had been reduced to rubble.
The Armour estate house had stood proudly for nearly 60 years. It was now a roofless battered ruin. Ken had resettled from Nova Scotia a mere three months before. “I did not sign up for this” were his first words to me. Ken is a fatalist like myself, and a subsequent comment “It is what it is” resonated with me. In the following months, Ken and I developed a strong enduring friendship.
Set on the coast down the road from the Armour estate house is the beautiful holiday residence of our friends Betty and Gene from Sarasota, Florida. We can see their home from our home, and the absence of galvanize from their roof told us that not all was well with them. Their Florida home had dodged hurricane Irma some days before.
Ken had resettled from Nova Scotia a mere three months before. “I did not sign up for this” were his first words to me.
We three drove to the airport and an offer of evacuation by the USA helicopter services was quickly accepted. I assisted Betty and Gene to evacuate the next day. Maryann turned down a similar offer. B&G left me with a fully stocked larder and freezer full of food, which I shared with three other families. Thanks to their generosity, food was not an issue for the next two weeks.
Our road was now fully motor-able. First order of business was to install a salvaged piece of rain guttering to collect rain water. A metal barrel given to us by good friend Nia became invaluable for collecting and storing rain water. Normalcy was returning to the Volney household. We set our minds on recovery rather than survival.
About Cyril Volney:
Cyril Volney is a retired banking professional and a proud Dominican. He is also a family man and comes from a lineage of distinguished individuals. Cyril now lives with his wife of 40+ years at their home in Wesley, Dominica.