I stayed at the Buccament Bay Resort in St. Vincent this summer for three days. I took this picture while heading out on the sunset cruise. This is what I visualize when I think about St. Vincent.
A few days ago, there was extreme flooding which resulted in fatalities and general devastation. Lives were lost, homes were lost, families were changed irrevocably. This is what comes to mind now when I think about St. Vincent.
When we arrived on the island, we were whisked from the airport to the resort, so I didn’t get a chance to see much of the island. All I knew was that it was small. Nevertheless, I felt a strong sense of sadness on hearing the news.
When you stay at an all-inclusive resort, you don’t think about money or loss or anything remotely realistic, you just wonder what’s for lunch (well, I did anyway). On the second day, though, I was curious. I asked to go “off resort” and I was taken to the local grocery. I knew the grocery would give me a true picture – it is not fabricated to get foreigners to part with Canadian money or British pounds. The grocery would be the real deal.
I walked into the grocery, but not before asking the local exchange rate to Canadian dollars and also what the average salary for the island was. I don’t know why it was important for me to do that. (Vacationer’s guilt maybe?) Then I started multiplying when looking at items to get some context. I was flabbergasted at how expensive everything was. I immediately thought, “How could people live here when food is so expensive!!”
Maybe that’s what I was thinking about when I was reading the news and looking at the pictures of places I had never seen before. I would never know what it looked like before the flood destroyed it. I thought how much harder life is now for those families facing, not only death, but homelessness and illness.
My thoughts and heart goes out to the families, not only in St. Vincent but in all the other islands affected.
My brother, who lives and works in St. Vincent, sent me this link on Christmas Day if you’d like to read more: Christmas Day devastation in St. Vincent. Thankfully, he’s okay.
ps. The second photo I used was taken from here: Pictures of Flooding Damage.