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Yesterday Tropical Storm Karen passed over Trinidad and Tobago. I was in Tobago. I sat with two friends inside our shared room looking out at the continuous heavy rain and wind outside and looking at videos, sent via WhatsApp, of raging flood water in areas 20 miles from us (in Tobago) rushing through houses and washing away cars. I read messages from my brother as he was stranded on Gasparee Island, tried in vain to contact some friends, received news of flood outs in various colleagues homes and heard the news that Trinidad (already under water in many areas) was put on riverine watch as our beloved Caroni and Wyma rivers threatened to burst their banks.  Though the storm has moved north sparing the eastern Caribbean, Trinidad remains on riverine watch and some of our northern brothers and sisters, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, and others, remain on “watch” and “alert”.

I am forty-four. In my lifespan I have never felt the Caribbean Sea be this warm and I swim in it all the time. This warmth strengthens storms and slows them down so they are powerful and hover over one area longer. This warmth is new.  I find that I feel intense fear when I feel this warmth and lose the calm and joy of being in our beloved ocean. I feel angry that our region, which is responsible for less than two percent of emissions, is demolished in moments because of our infrastructure and I feel powerlessness.

Clearly fear, powerlessness, imperialism and racism are things I get to continue to discharge :)

I have done some things..... I do not use bottled water in my home, I have trees, I plant food, I try to notice that these things are some things. I focus on care of the environment when I lead even though I feel like I am floundering and have no resource around it just to remind  myself that I may be floundering but I do have the resource of my community.

There are some things I would like to do but feel I would endanger my life by doing it. I get to also notice our lives are already “en-dangered.”  Doing and discharging .... it is hard but I continue because deep inside I know I need to be aware as my people always have been. Great to read about everyone’s work on the list so I am also reminded that I am not doing and discharging alone.

Chantal Esdelle
September 23, 2019

Last modified: 2019-10-17 20:13:21+00