I spent the weekend with family and friends in the Cayman Islands. Beautiful place. Far more developed than I had expected. Particularly on the south side of the island where we stayed.
When I gotto thecondo wherewe were staying, one of the first things I got the chance to glance at was a book detailing the devastation of Hurricane Ivan on the island. Category 5. Wind gusts up to 200mph. The devastation was incredible. Four Feet or more of water covered the ENTIRE Island.
Pictures in the book mirrored what we saw in the Gulf Coast.
I had totally forgot about Ivan. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. But I started asking locals that I got to meet about it. Taxicab drivers. Waiters. People I met.
They told stories of no electricity for 6 or more weeks. No water for 2 weeks. How to take a shower with a half a bottle of water.
The real question I had was how the island had been rebuilt. Who paid for it ?
The stories were all the same. We did. We did. We did. The government tried to do their part. But when it came right down to it, enterprise stepped in. Insurance proceeds were invested.
A couple people felt like that the island should have done a better job of asking for assistance, like the US did for Katrina, but most seemed to be proud of the fact they did it themselves.
It was great to see.
But part of me was sad.
That used to be an American story. I kept on waiting for the story to end with a description of American know how and ingenuity. But they werent talking about Americans.
Im sure there are parts of their story I dont know. I was just a tourist asking questions. Maybe i wasnt in the right area. But all I could think ofwas,if this little island could get back on their feet through free enterpriseand through their own initiative, why cant we ?