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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Preparing for the storm that luckily never came!!!

It’s Tuesday morning and we wake up to a stormy sea. It doesn’t look so good for diving and we are all waiting expectantly for good news, that isn’t coming. Staff wants to go to check up the pass for diving but as our luck have it, our boat engine doesn’t want to work.

Well, it gives us an opportunity to catch up on our EFR knowledge (Emergency First Response – just if you’ve been asking), which is actually great news. We engaged in role play acting both sides of doctors and nurses, we were bandaging our arms and legs and measuring our pulses and all other stuff. We just behave like teenagers and pretending like we never did it before =). Well the day went by quite quickly. The engine is on its way to Playa to be fixed and we are just told that a tiny storm (later hurricane) Rina is on the way.
We have mixed feelings, there is lots of talking and even more questions. What do you imagine under the world hurricane? My first images are those from news, the after storm photos, lots of tragedy. That’s news for you. But actually here everything seems under control and the process of preparation went in orderly fashion.

In 2007 Mahahual was wiped out clean by hurricane Dean. You can still see the aftermath of it, but people don’t wait here, on contrary they all put their hands together and work on rebuilding and bringing the economy back. These people lost all their belongings, parts of who they were and yet they manage to be these happy people who are sharing all they have. Always have a time for short chat and laugh, and let me tell you, they do love to laugh.

So GVI have decided to take precautions and evacuate us to Casitas a little suburb to Mahahual – but it is actually part of it, just on the other side of the main road. Casitas have a big port, where the cruise ships arrive. It’s been only open in 2009 and gives job opportunities to people  and for us to be (even if in a small way) part of the community by helping teaching them English.

 But on that day, what did it meant for us? Well of course the upgrade to hotel with hot water (at times), eating meat earlier than Friday and internet connection and being amongst the civilisation. But before that we had to pack Punta Gruesa. We called it a preparation for the 10th week, as that’s what we will be doing on the end of our stay on base. So we pulled the boats out (quite heavy) laughing. We packed all our belongings and put them away, so the huts were clean again (not for long). We put all the chairs and tables and whatever could float or fly into the bathrooms (tough for those who wanted to go), had a yummy lunch, checked that everyone is ready to go and everything is secured. It felt good to be working as one big team, everybody pulling their weight. Nobody panicked for one moment and it was great experience.
We spend in Casitas one night, met few locals on the way, had a chat with them and the next afternoon we packed our bags and happily (well, at least some) arrived back on base where we were welcomed by hungry mosquitos. We put our bags down and start unpacking again. And within couple of hours we had our mosquitos nets up again, our beds were made, based looked busy again and then it was time for dinner.
It’s good to be back. I’m glad that the Huricane Rina didn’t cause as much damage in rest of the country and it’s good to know that everybody is safe.