September 13, 2007

Cultural differences: Hurricanes

Image: National Hurricane Center, 09/04/07

You know how we US Americans are. (Here I am stereotyping again. Just think "in general" so I don't have to write it each time.) We always have to DO SOMETHING. If a hurricane is coming, we worry, we look up the hurricane preparedness guidelines, we protect, we prepare, we evacuate.

Not so with Hondurans for the most part. "Si Dios quiere" (if God wills it) is the rule of the day. I have to qualify that by saying that the Honduran government did seem to have an organized plan.

I've never been anywhere near a Hurricane before. I was getting the National Hurricane Center email warnings every couple of hours instructing me to "immediately complete preparations for this catastrophic hurricane." Internet friends were giving me advice and links to hurricane preparedness sites. I was reading about tons of stuff that there was no way we could do in the amount of time that was left. I was getting really scared at the point when most of the prediction models showed Felix coming directly through La Ceiba.

One of El Jefe's brothers lives a block away from the ocean. His mother lives about 3 blocks away from the ocean. I suggested that we invite them all to come and spend the night here. We think (hope) our house is relatively sturdy and we are a couple of miles from the ocean with mountains behind us.

Nope. They stayed home. We even suggested that his brother at least bring his car over to keep in our garage overnight because he doesn't have a garage. Nope. They seemed to think we were silly for even suggesting it.

Of course, we did a few basic things that I'm sure most Hondurans did. We stocked up on food. We got extra cash in case the banks and/or ATMs weren't working for awhile. We planned where we and the dogs would go if it hit. We are always stocked up on candles and drinking and non-drinking water so there was no change there.

El Jefe and I had a few tense moments with me saying that we need to do this or we need to do that and him raising his eyebrows and acting like I was nuts. Thankfully, in the end, he was the one who got to say "I told you so."

With Hurricane Dean and Hurricane Felix, we were lucky. They were right. No worries!

I guess it must be comforting to have faith that God won't smash you and your house to smithereens, but I couldn't help thinking, "God helps those who help themselves."
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