Virgin Islands Work Trip #2
Date(s) - 05/05/2018 - 05/14/2018
Mission: You Can Make An Incredible Difference!
Were you impacted by the recent wind and snow storms here in NJ?
Did you perhaps lose some trees?
Or did you perhaps lose power for a few days?
My family and I lost power for 8+ days, lost several trees, and had some damage to our fence. But I do know how very blessed we are by being merely inconvenienced by those storms!
Those of us who worked on a mission trip in St. Thomas, VI, in January, and saw the hurricane damage there, have seen the face of a real disaster.
The island of St. Thomas has a population of slightly more than 50,000. About a third of those had severe damage from the two category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria.
The island’s economy is based on tourism, which accounts for fully one-third of the island’s gross domestic product. The island, which had economic problems before the hurricanes, was further hammered by those storms.
- Many homes were totally devastated, including much of the island’s low-income housing.
- Many people had to start over with nothing, even those in their 70s and 80s.
- Many of the island’s working poor – hotel maids, busboys, dishwashers – suddenly had no jobs due to the severe damage to hotels and restaurants. Some of the major hotels are not expected to reopen for several years and many restaurants have closed.
This is the devastation of Sandy . . . on steroids. But the islanders do not have the means, the jobs, to recover by themselves.
Yes, the tourist ships are coming back, and that’s a good thing, but ship passengers go into town to buy jewelry or other high-end goods and sightsee, but they then go back to the ship for dinner. They don’t stay on the island and eat in restaurants.
And, to make matters even worse, many of the most capable, many of those who could afford to do so, have left the island, some permanently.
We’re organizing another work trip – May 5-14. Will you consider coming with us? We partner with the St. Thomas Reformed Church, staying in their beautiful retreat house which was completely renovated just before the storms, and much of the work will be in partnership with My Brothers Workshop. The retreat house can accommodate 16 people, 8 men and 8 women in two bunkrooms. Cost of the trip is estimated at $1,000 ($450 airfare, $275 meals, $275 donation to the recovery work).