Surviving Irma and Maria

Surviving Irma and Maria

It’s been a challenging month…

A 7.1 earthquake in Mexico leaves 331 dead.

Meanwhile, back home in the Caribbean, we face the daunting task of rebuilding from the rubble left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

On the island of St. Croix, where I’m from, we’re still trying to assess the damage. Thankfully, my Mom is safe, and as far as I know friends and family are safe as well.

But the financial and emotional strains will be with us for a long time.

The prime minister of Dominica described Hurricane Maria as “merciless” and left “mind boggling devastation” in her wake.

In Puerto Rico, the passage of Irma, then Maria, has left most of the population without electricity, drinking water or food. Many clinics and hospitals are closed. Like elsewhere in the Caribbean, many lives are at risk.

My Uncle Gerry was the first person to alert me when Hurricane Maria was on the way. He texted me over the weekend. “We are in a predicament,” he wrote. “Hurricane Maria formed in the Atlantic and might hit us.”

I haven’t spoken to Mom since the hurricane because with the exception of AT&T, there’s no cell phone or landline service. My Uncle assures me Mom is in good spirits despite the chaos.

In just two weeks, so many islands, economies and hearts have been devastated.

But we will rebuild. We have no choice. Hopefully, we will emerge stronger and wiser. Each crisis reminds us how much we need each other, how everything is interconnected, like it or not. And each crisis is a reminder that each moment is precious and must not be taken for granted.

These hurricanes, in their own way, are also telling us that global warming is a very real, very dangerous and must be seriously addressed. The earth is rebelling, and world leaders ought to take heed because too many poor people are paying the cost.

Many organizations are helping hurricane victims in various islands. Here’s a list of a few of them, but I’ve also included a link for victims of the recent 7.1 earthquake in Mexico.

Thank you in advance for your support. A donation of any amount can help save lives.



USVI Recovery:

United For Puerto Rico:

Direct Relief:

UNICEF Earthquake Relief:


James Weeks

Producer, Across The King’s River

Staying Grounded In Crazy Times

Staying Grounded In Crazy Times

I’m not sure what to say…

…Because who knows what’s coming next? These are troubling times.

Just a little over one month ago, the nation’s attention was riveted on white supremacists marching through the streets of Charlottesville and President Trump’s unwillingness to condemn them.

And then Hurricane Irma suddenly appeared on the horizon this month with deadly 185 per hour winds that decimated several Caribbean Islands before creating even more damage in Florida.

….But wait, almost forgot to make mention of Hurricane Harvey’s unwelcome visit to Texas. At least 70 deaths so far. Forgive me. There’s so much mayhem to keep track of these days.

And right this minute, Hurricane Maria, another Category 5 super storm, is on the way…

…Is there no end to our trials?

Back home on St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and elsewhere throughout the Caribbean, we’re praying for the best but bracing for the worse. Just this morning, my sister and I were trying to decide whether Mom will be better off at a hurricane shelter or whether she’ll be safer at home. Who knows? Trying to predict the path of a hurricane is sometimes a bit like rolling a dice.

It’s been a rough year for my people. It’s been a rough year for many people.

How do you stay grounded when so many things, so many forces are beyond your control? There’s no simple answer. But I know this. While you do what you can to help others and your community, you must also make self-care a priority.

You can’t be of much help to anyone or any cause if you’re depleted emotionally and spiritually. Rest when you can, eat a sensible diet, and make sure you maintain some kind of spiritual practice.

I practice meditation and made sure I did twenty minutes of meditation this morning before I got on the phone to figure out what to do about Mom as Hurricane Maria storms through the Caribbean.

…And last Sunday I spent all day in the hills of Oakland working with local filmmakers on my film, Across The King’s River. I intend to keep things moving forward no matter what. I suggest you do too.

Knowing I can guide and inspire others during this daunting time warms my heart. There’s too much on the line. The struggle continues. Lots of rebuilding to do. And we must be vigilant. We all need each other.

Would love to know what’s most on your mind these days and how you’re coping with all the challenges. Be sure to comment on this post and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

May the ancestors continue to guide and protect you.

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James Weeks

Producer, Across The King’s River