The truth about flooding

As you already know last week we had another cyclone warning. Although the cyclone didn’t amount to much, there was lots of flooding. Usually in Canada flooding amounts to ruined basements and the loss of personal belongings. In New Caledonia last week much more was lost. Whether it has to do with hormones or if it really just put things into perspective, last week made my heart heavy and my perspective a bit clearer.
Last Wednesday at noon the cyclone orange alert was put into action. At that point you are to go home and wait for further instruction. Commercial and educational activity must cease and you are basically asked to stay home. During this time we were in the process of packing up our things ( again) to move into temporary housing. I will admit I was cranky, packing suitcases of dirty clothes ( since we had no washer) and hauling them to the car. It was pouring rain and I was just not in the mood! But, you do what you have to do. Roads were flooded from the lead up to the storm and whole communities cut off from the world. While I was moaning and complaining to Keith about our misfortune I neglected to read any news reports. So, on Thursday morning when the clouds had parted and I had calmed down I opened my browser to Calédonie 1ère to see what was happening on the Caillou. This is when my self absorbed attitude glided out the window like yesterday’s rain clouds. Two people were missing and presumed dead. Taken away by flood waters. One a 23 year old male from Koné, taken by the current as he tried to cross a river and a 6 year old boy, who’s parents car was taken by the rushing waters. The parents and his six month old brother managed to survive but his father’s grip was just not strong enough against the water.
I felt stung. Why was I so full of complaints? I had my family safe and sound. I was not out in the water. I was not stranded by still too high waters. How could I be so self involved? So unaware of others?
I followed the news closely. The body of the young man from our community was found. I prayed that they would find the 6 year old. His extended family and strangers from the community where he had gone missing as well as the Gendarme searched. Days passed. Nothing. Waters began to recede, communities returned to order. They continued to search. On Sunday afternoon his family found his body. I was quietly happy, that at least his family would have some peace.
Life on this island could be quickly viewed as paradise. White sandy beaches and turquoise waters lends itself to visions of a tropical oasis. But there tends to be balance in the world. Such extreme beauty is often equaled out by harsh weather, deadly weather. And we as people are generally wrapped up in our own microcosm, our reality. It’s normal, it’s understandable. But it sometimes takes something close to home for us to be reset, to realize that our life is one of many. So you won’t hear me complain of my plumbing problems anymore. Things could be much, much worse, couldn’t they?

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