The Calm After the Storm


 I arrived in Caye Caulker one day before the storm, on a mild Tuesday evening. The island was in the midst of bracing itself for the storm to come, with many tourists fleeing the island as I was arriving. I found out later there had been an alarm sounding out a "voluntary" evacuation. 
It was a long night, one spent in countdown mode. Lights flickered towards 9 o'clock, before finally going out, plunging the cabana I was staying at into darkness. All I could hear by this point was the howling wind and rain striking down at the windows. I gathered all my possessions into the bathroom, with my laptop and charged up iPhone the only source of light I had. Close to midnight, my laptop finally went out on me, preventing me from being distracted from the natural disaster at hand. I crawled into bed, phone in hand, eyes wide and incapable of sleep.

Or so I thought. Within half an hour, I inexplicably slipped into a sound sleep, falling asleep with prayers on my lips. 
Lord, please...keep us safe...
I woke up past 5 AM, confused as to where I was. Then everything clicked back into place. I bound out of bed towards the front door. The entire place looked untouched from the inside, but as I peeked outside, my heart sank to see all the destroyed foliage. I peeled the towels I'd lined the door with (a very good idea, mind you) away, and stepped outside. Everything was so quiet. So still.
I threw on a pair of shorts and wandered further outside. 
Let me tell you...witnessing the power of a hurricane makes you feel so small. Something that happens in nature can cause so much destruction to these man-made things we put so much  pride into. It's so belittling. From ripped up docks to roofs that were peeled off, the power of Hurricane Earl certainly didn't leave Caye Caulker untouched. However, as I walked around, I saw these hardy islanders already start cleaning up, merely shaking this disaster off as another part of life. At the end of the day, there was still laughter, the smiles were shared just as freely as before, and we all rejoiced that no lives were lost. 
It was a rough start to this trip, and while most people would say it ruined their trip, I'd say it only enriched it. To pull through a hurricane with strangers is bonding. You become a part of the community. So while I traveled alone, I never felt lonely.

See more of my trip through the first 2 vlogs from Belize below:

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