Our Lord of Mercy

ow can anyone write anything that is not about the hurricane this week? Do you realize history almost repeated itself? Hurricane Hattie struck on October 31 " and the all clear was given on November 1", 1961. Hurricane Mitch almost struck on October 27, 281, and 29th , and the all clear wasn't given until October 31 11, exactly 37 years on the anniversary of Hattie.

What a week last week; it seemed like a whole month. It was the first hurricane in the history of our island that really saw a full scale evacuation with some five thousand people leaving for Orange Walk, Belmopan and Benque Viejo in Cayo. During the exodus, we saw the price of plywood jump from 40 dollars ' to 75 dollars by some advantageous merchants in San Pedro. We saw the stores cleaned out of their merchandise and some refusing to even open to render service to our people. We saw delighted yet innocent children "enjoy" a complete week off classes. And then the Town Board and the Honourable Patty Arceo demonstrated their commitment and ability to handle an emergency situation placing health, safety, food, water, electricity, telephones, boats, aircraft, law and order, and shelter at the service of the people of San Pedro and Caye Caulker. We saw two local BEL workers with a determination to give us 150% of their service. Then we cannot ignore Caye Caulker Water Taxi that came to our rescue during the evacuation. Yes, we had some who intentionally remained on the island to steal. But we had the quick response of the police and the BDF to counter their attack. We saw San Pedranos ride to Bomba with entire families including 80 and 90 year olds as well as newborn babies. We saw a mass evacuation, yet some 1000 fearless and brave ones intentionally decided to weather the storm right here on the island including the Mayor and our Area Representative. We saw adults crying in panic trying to leave the island. We saw every pier and every building on the sea destroyed in totality. We saw tremendous beach erosion, yet many beachfront lots and access streets filled up with tons of beautiful white sand. Then we learn of managers or home owners selfishly and arrogantly refusing to allow their premises as shelters or to carry out special services. Airlines flew us in from International at the same fares from Municipal airstrip. Some employees have been paid their full salary for last week by their kind employers while others have been illegally denied their salary by selfish bosses. And then we hear of hundreds of tourists who have cancelled their reservations and many hotels along the beach struggling to quickly restore services at the beginning of the tourist season which is just about now. There were people who could not read maps that are now experts in tracking a hurricane on a map of the Caribbean area. We hear of moving stories like my goldfish which went in total darkness, no air and no food for five days, and they all survived the hurricane Mitch too. And we hear of a man who returned to the island selling some personal belongings because he had no food for that day. And we hear of people gaining weight because they were eating three and four meals a day, while others lost weight because of hardships suffered in theirjam packed shelters of 80 and 90 people. We also saw people traveling by plane with their dogs, something that the airlines do not allow under normal conditions. And this friend tells me that his wife scolds when he breaks bread at home, but this time she was breaking bread with her hands in the shelter. And the list of things we hear goes on and on and on. But the bottom line is that we are sound and safe because of the great power and mercy of Our Lord. Your prayers during the procession of our Lady of Guadalupe and during the past week were heard. And if you have not yet prayed to thank the Lord, it is not yet late to do so. Thank the Lord for his mercy is great. Twenty Five Years Ago invites you all to come to church this Sunday as it has been declared a national day of prayer to thank God for his protection and everlasting love. God bless our Island. God bless Belize.

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