Friday, August 5, 2016

What about the poor? Hurricanes are indiscriminate

I like to use a little poetic licence in my writing, the odd quip, pun or witty remark. This blog will have none of that for I wish to address, a more serious and underreported subject: How did the poor fair in all this?  I think to make my point most effectively I need to take off my lens of political correctness, because honestly, most of the poor in Belize had nothing before hurricane Earl took it all away and they still have nothing, some maybe a little less than nothing.

The Cayes, Placentia and parts of the Cayo are playgrounds for Ex-Pats. The poor in Belize are lucky enough to have a roof, whether it is a gable or hip is quite secondary, they aren't the people who live ocean front, unless it's in a mangrove swamp, they are the people who clean your house, rake your gravel, wash your clothes and live at least three blocks away, in  conditions  nothing short of appalling:

A mother and six children lived in the house in the background, they got out unhurt, when their house started to collapse from the forces of nature. A woman, raising six kids in Canada would have little disposable income, in Belize she has none is probably lucky to afford school fees for two or three of them. Squalor doesn't have to go with the scenery, how is she going to fix her house?

Imagine sitting in this house when the roof and the walls vanished, what little you owned  was suddenly wet, or  gone? There is no home inspection solution for this situation, there is no single or multiple failed component here, a tent would have been as durable.

Having a house is only good if you can get to it, In this case, the structure appears to have survived but the area is now so littered with debris and broken that it is not safe at all. Every kid in Belize is barefoot, let's hope tetanus shots are available.

At least the evacuation route is clearly marked, by the looks of the house in the background they tried very hard to protect what they had, it does not appear to have been successful for what the wind did not take off the top of the building, flood water is going to take from the bottom.

We will persevere friends, there will always be poor folks in Belize and help will come where it can and for the most part will be appreciated. The best thing the average home or business owner can do right now, is hire and pay local people to clean up your mess so they have some money to deal with their own.

In my home country, Canada, we have similar conditions on some of our first nations reserves, the big difference, is there is no social safety net in Belize, everything is very personal and for this we should be eternally grateful, because the lady with six kids will get a house, if I have to harass my Canadian friends in Rotary International to NOT build a playground and instead build something that helps one family, I will.

The ex-pats will pay me for my services and I am happy to oblige, but we cannot forget that the country runs, not on the cold beer on the beach, but on the efforts and commitment of the people who live in conditions we cannot imagine and for the most part, do not wish to see.

Help out, all kindness, like politics is local

Doug Elniski
BestHomes Inspection Limited
Belize CA

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