Our Community - Street Interviews - "What are your days like since Hurricane Keith?"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 39            October 26, 2000

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Flora Ancona

Flora Ancona - President, San Pedro Lions Club - Immediately after the hurricane I was asked to help coordinate and distribute food and other goods to those in need. Ever since, I have been working tirelessly doing this, alternating my time with my work at Tropic Air. I set aside my chores at home to work in this area because I feel it was more important. After NEMO handed over the goods and roofing to the Lions, work became even more intense. In just a short period I coordinated a Lions meeting and since then, with the help of club members, have been busy packing and distributing goods. At this point, I have also started working on my own home and little by little everything is getting back to normal. There is still more work to be done as we are getting some containers coming in from the USA and as soon as it arrives we will organize another distribution campaign.
Genaro Nuñez Jr.

Genaro Nuñez Jr. - Sea Turtle Gift Shop - Pescador Drive - My brother and I are keeping strong together to make business progress. We are now opened for regular hours to keep up with business and not looking back. In order to meet the people's needs, I try to get what is essential at this time. I have expanded my merchandise to what is needed at this time like candles etc.

    My brother, who lives immediately over the business, suffered a lot of damage. Fortunately, he had insurance and with the money he is getting, is rebuilding a stronger house using concrete. We should all be encouraged with the fast progress we have been seeing and should continue to work as normal as we can to ensure a prosperous season.

Yolanda Galvez

Yolanda Galvez - Barrier Reef Drive -  Immediately after the hurricane, I started to clean up all the water that had entered the house. My days are semi-normal now that I have electricity, phone and water. I am back to work on a tentative schedule and hopefully soon will commence regular normal working hours. My children have returned to school (one in Belize City and another at San Pedro High School). Everything is getting back to normal. I thank God that my house was spared and my children are doing fine.
Celi McCorkle

Celi McCorkle - Holiday Hotel - Barrier Reef Drive - My regular day has gone back to what I was doing twenty-five years ago. I look at this experience on the bright side as going back to my beginning. My day commences at 6:00 a.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. During this time I get involved in all aspects of repairs and cleaning. I am making flour tortillas for the deli, cooking, sweeping, stocking the coolers and just working along with the rest of the staff. If I find spare time, I use it to plan for the upcoming tourist season. Instead of feeling depressed, I feel rejuvenated. I am happy that at the age of 62, I can still accomplish a full day's work.

Mrs. Celi McCorkle was interviewed on national TV in Houston on Tuesday after the hurricane. The interview was broadcast on the 10 o'clock news on CBS. Mrs. McCorkle used this opportunity to accurately report what had happened to Ambergris Caye and also to ask for food and medicine for the victims. She also emphasized that the people of San Pedro were working furiously to have La Isla Bonita ready for the upcoming season.

James Ritchie

James Ritchie - Captain Sharks - Lion Street - We have been putting back the roof of our business and our home which were totally lost during the hurricane. Fortunately, most of the inventory at the shop was saved and we are presently trying to clean it up. We are still without electricity but are open for business during our regular working hours. The house is also cleaned up and we are constantly helping people to charge their golf carts and cellular phones there. We are even managing to pay some of our bills. We are hoping that in the next two weeks, the island will be pretty much back to normal and ready for the tourist season.
Sylvia Eiley

Sylvia Eiley - Belizean national, living in the USA - We were bringing a yacht from New London, Connecticut, USA traveling to Miami. A storm at sea forced us to dock at Charlston, South Carolina (the same Sunday San Pedro was experiencing the hurricane). I went out partying, not knowing my country was in a tragedy. After getting back on board and watching the weather channel, I saw Belize in red, meaning that the Category 4 hurricane was striking it. I thought to myself, "Oh my God! It's happening again to my country!" and I knew I had to come home. I got permission to leave the boat and took a flight to Miami on Monday. I was forced to stay in a hotel for two days feeling hopeless and watching the news, hearing how Belize and Ambergris Caye were being battered by Keith. I arrived in Belize on Thursday and then traveled to San Pedro where my immediate family lives. After making sure everyone was okay, I volunteered to help distribute food and goods to those affected. Ever since then, I have been delaying the date to travel back to the states. My boss has been very understanding about the whole matter. My regular days here are probably the same; like many. I am trying very hard to get my family back on their feet. When I return to the states I will do my best to help promote and market San Pedro and Belize so that we can all prosper from a healthy tourism season.
Yolanda Ayuso

Yolanda Ayuso - Tarpon Street - My regular days after the hurricane are still full of work. Immediately after the disaster, which took with it my home's roof, my children and some friends covered the top of the house temporarily with tarps until we were able to get zinc (it is now in place). I thank the management of Mayan Princess most for their help during this ordeal. Our mattresses that were also damaged have been replaced and apart from the never-ending washing, being done almost daily, everything seems to be getting back to normal. Little by little we are waking up from that terrible nightmare.

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