We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of the hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated the USVI, BVI, and Puerto Rico. So much has happened since then, yet there is still so much to be done. Broken tree limbs still dangle precariously above pothole stricken roads, traffic lights still hang twisted and broken waiting to be replaced, road signs are mangled or missing entirely, gas stations sit collapsed in heaps of roofing over collapsed columns…the island is still a mess in many ways. Yet we count ourselves lucky, on St Croix, to have power and communications fully restored, mains water no worse than it was before, and many schools back in usable shape. Puerto Rico has not been so fortunate, St John still struggles with transportation to and from its lifeline for everything; St Thomas; and the other islands are also still rebuilding. On St Croix there are still residents living under tarps, bringing panic at even a little rain, and several of the island’s resorts have yet to reopen. We continue to face a housing shortage as temporary contract workers, mostly funded by FEMA, flood the scene with seemingly limitless housing funds; thereby pushing the prices way beyond an affordable figure for permanent residents even if there were vacant housing available.
Our little world at Nidulari has changed quite a bit too! Baby Cyrus made his debut in mid June, and has been supervising the running of the business since he was a week old! Quite an adjustment for us all, but he is wonderful, as only a baby can be. Somehow, thanks to Mandy and Shelli, we managed all that without closing Nidulari, and indeed, we’ve had a busy summer. Now at long last I’ve taken two weeks off to potentially catch up on sleep and have some uninterrupted baby time…lest we tempt hurricane fate by being open during the time when we were hit last year. Mandy’s business, Mahogany Road Chocolate, also continues to thrive, along with her endeavors in Haiti.
Our trees are gradually growing back, bananas are flowering at long last, and there are flowering plants magically seeded everywhere by the hurricanes along with whole forests of papaya. There were no mangoes or avocados for us this year, but we hope for impressive crops of both next year as the trees fully recover. We are still gradually cleaning up the mess; downed trees still block various areas, now overgrown with a tangle of vines, and fences are still mangled or destroyed…the work is endless amid all the more pressing needs of daily life. Mandy and I hope to finally rebuild the wood-fired oven this week, after waiting for months to acquire lime for the brickwork. Balancing the endless to-do list with being a new mom is an ongoing challenge which I tiredly take on.
Motherhood is a grand adventure, for sure. From the months of waiting and feeling like a manatee to the incredible rate at which he grows and progresses from helpless newborn to alert, engaging infant; the exhaustion of pregnancy to the sleepless nights of parenthood…there’s much to learn and much to enjoy, tolerate, or persevere through! The best part: baby grins and laughs. The worst part: endless unsolicited advice from all and sundry …from well-meaning experienced-mom friends to random middle-aged guys in the grocery check out line. Just because a new mom listens politely doesn’t mean she has any intention of following advice, unsolicited or otherwise. Sleep deprivation makes us less tolerant?
With that, I shall round up this long-overdue post, hurriedly typed during naptime! If you’re on St Croix please do stop by for some delicious brunch or baked goods, Wednesdays 2-6pm and Satudays/Sundays 11am-3pm starting again on September 19th.