Rainbows, storms and kindness

Bermuda has done some really admirable things over the last couple of weeks. Life changing history making events actually.

Just at the end of August, Bermuda held it’s very first Pride Parade supporting it’s LGBTI people. In case you don’t know that stands for people who identify as: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex. The version I like includes an ‘s’ on the end for Straight people too, inclusion for all. Now please forgive me if I get my facts wrong anywhere but like Bermuda, I’m still catching up. This has been a very emotional subject for Bermuda as single sex marriage was legalised in 2017, but then the act was abolished and changed to ‘partnerships’ instead. You might like to read that again….. Yes permission was given, then taken away again! Then it was appealed and reinstated by the Supreme Court in November 2018. So if your partner is the same sex as you, and you would like to get married in Bermuda, you now can.

Bermuda has a very active LGTBI community and the Pride Event was a well anticipated and attended march from Victoria Park around Hamilton down to the waterfront, then back again to Victoria Park for party celebrations. It was a beautiful day, and oh the colours were amazing. Rainbows everywhere. I especially liked the Police car painted up to show their support and the train carrying those that weren’t able to make the big walk around the circuit. There was a bit of hype beforehand, with tales of people who haven’t embraced change yet threatening machetes. I didn’t see any of those where I was standing. A couple of pedestrian crossings got painted in rainbow colours, which upset a few people with disabilities as it made it harder for them to mobilize. This was noted by the ‘offenders’ to be put back to the usual zebra stripes, and permission now needs to be sought for future events. Just a bit of notice may have eased this a little. Luckily its only for a couple of weeks. I was impressed that there were over five thousand people in the march, and many, many more supporting from the sidelines. Some businesses showed their support with rainbow flags and window dressings. The local newspaper The Royal Gazette had their stairs painted up. It really looked great, well for a few days until some thoughtless person decided to graffiti it. As Bermudian’s love colour, all the effort really suited the capital’s image. There were a few protesters, but all in all it was a peaceful, loving, celebration of getting to live your life the way that you want to. Bring on more of that!

Just two days later Hurricane Dorian, that I mentioned in my last blog, devastated two Islands in the Bahamas. Pictures coming in on Social Media show total devastation as even houses built to withstand category four hurricanes, were flattened to the ground in this category five one. A lot of people didn’t make it, people who did had to be pulled out of attic spaces having narrowly escaped drowning in their own homes, and are left with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. It was so slow moving that it sat over the islands for two days, pounding them until there was virtually nothing left.

Now that storm was hundreds of miles away from us here in Bermuda, but we always have the nervous anticipation of following what way it will go until it makes up its mind. Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island are the worst affected, their infrastructure completely gone. The other surrounding islands are at capacity trying to help people. It’s a mess – it could have so easily been us. What was really wonderful was the show of support from Bermuda. The local hardware store Gorham’s offered fifteen percent discount on selected hurricane survival items last weekend. These could be bought in store, then given to some lovely men who were busy wrapping everything onto pallets, then taking it to harbour. There the Royal Navy Ship aptly named HMS Protector was being filled to the brim, whose next port of call was to drop off the items donated in the Bahamas. People turned out in droves and in just twenty four hours donated two hundred and twenty tonnes of emergency supplies. We popped our wee contribution in as well, and were grateful for the suggestion list at the door when we arrived to purchase it. It didn’t feel like much but we agreed that we would give some of the money we saved during dry July, and that felt really good to be able to do that. It has also made us very aware of our ‘hurricane bag’ and realised how quickly the stores get stripped of supplies when we might need them most. Preparation is king.

So we went down to the Harbour and watched the ship being loaded up. The amount of items being stowed really was huge and we hope for safe voyage reaching its destiny. Meanwhile there’s three more weather systems noted on the National Hurricane Centre, but they’re a long way away from us……….

More soon – Sally

If you would like to read a report about Hurricane Dorian written today you can find it here : https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/9/11/20858981/hurricane-dorian-bahamas-death-toll-missing-grand-bahama-abaco-islands-marsh-harbour

For more information about weather try this link to the National Weather Center. The cross on the very bottom left has gone from yellow to orange in the time I’ve been writing this blog. Bermuda is the very tiny dot about 2 o’clock above and right of it : https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/?atlc


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