Flying over Tortola, the brown, barren landscape shimmers with pieces of galvanized roof and debris. Patches of green signify the resilience of the trees and plants only a few weeks after hurricane Irma stripped them bare.
Driving from the airport toward Road Town, we pass buildings seemingly untouched by the storm, right next to ruins of what used to be their neighbor’s house. Up close, the debris seen from the air becomes large piles of twisted roofs, splintered wood, naked trees, and jungles of brush. Among the debris, there are more glimmers of resilience. This comes from the people of the BVI that make the best of what they’re given. This show of strength shines brightest of them all.
Ms. Baronville owned a restaurant in Road Town. She had a storefront to serve people and make her living. Once the hurricane took that restaurant from her, she proceeded with plan B. Now she packs her car with drinks and food and serves the people in town from a prime parking spot facing one of the busiest streets at rush hour. Not only does her business live on, it does so with a smile. Every time we pass her tailgate shop, Ms Baronville is sitting there with a grin of positive attitude.
One neighborhood bar between the airport and town is now parking spot for a large catamaran. You can still see the original tile floor over the bar’s foundation, and you can still find its owner settled between the boat hulls, behind a folding table and cooler full of beer, ready to serve the regulars.
Children playing in their front yard may not be an unnatural sight. However, when these carefree kids are horsing around in front of a house you can see right through because the storm took off its roof and walls, the mood changes from one of childhood adventure to shock and awe.
The Virgin Islands may be Nature’s Little Secret, but it’s no secret that the Virgin Islanders are strong, resilient people who find any way to bounce back after nature takes its course.