Poor, poor Dominica

emerald-poolTouted a “The Nature Island,” Dominica was a joy to visit, pretty much “unspoiled” old Caribbean, almost like St Thomas was before it was overrun by cruise ships and tourists. With 365 rivers, the island had beautiful waterfalls, great whale watching off -shore,   and was a delightful change from the typical duty-free-shopping-mall Caribbean island most ships go to.  The little capital town of Rosseau was basic, Caribbean-island quaint, typical of what things were like before the invasion of gigantic cruise ships.

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Year after year you’d watch the slow progress of restoring the old cathedral on the hill that had been heavily damaged by the last hurricane.

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Well, it is no more.  There is no communication and no way for planes to land as of this morning.  But it appears that the island is devastated and everything is pretty much … gone.  All gone.

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Hopefully, soon, planes will be able to get in, and, give them credit, the cruise lines have been shuttling survivors off many of the hardest hit islands, but what kind of future is there for an independent island nation, as if one can build an independent island nation based on a population of only 72,000, and an economy of bananas ((now all gone) and tourism (ditto),

Our thoughts and prayers and hopes go out for all those devastated by earthquakes, hurricanes and tropical storms over the past month, but especially to the poor people of Dominica.  It is estimated now that the damages are in the billions of dollars, not that anyone would assume that much damage was possible in little Dominica, and that every person living on the island has been affected.

Panama Outside Hurricane Belt

My heart goes out to all those folks in Texas who are without power, in flooded areas, and some who have lost everything. Now, a double whammy! No to take away from the two great Panama Canal videos I posted this morning, but there are now over 5 million people who are being devastated across the Caribbean by Hurricane Irma. These are wonderful “Islands in the sun” that I have enjoyed visiting over the years. Before it’s done Irma will likely hit Cuba as well, where I’m headed in a few months. And depending … it may veer North and add more devastation to the South Eastern US.

One of my big concerns in picking Panama as a place to live was that it is outside the hurricane belt. I understand that no place is perfect. Yes, I live on the slopes of a volcano that may, or may not, show some life over the next 5,000 years, but being Panama that may mean the next 10,000 years, 20,000 years, or never. “Manana!” Not today. Possibly sometime in the future, maybe never. Just like the guy who has promised to come and fix something around your house! Being on the “Ring of Fire” we get tremors as the earth stretches and tectonic plates shift. We get lots … lots! … of tremors, most of which you can’t even feel. But for me, theologically that’s a good thing. It means that God is still creating and isn’t yet finished with the earth. Thank you Jssus! And if he’s not finished with the earth, he’s maybe not finished with me … so there is hope.

So … nothing perfect, but PANAMA IS OUTSIDE THE HURRICANE BELT. We may catch the outer fringe of a tropical depression giving us more rain at times than normal, but no hurricanes!

Here it is … the historic tracking the world’s brutal storm systems. And you see that little squiggle of land between the North and South American continents? That sliver surrounded by blue? That’s Panama!

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