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Chapter 23: Maria, you're such a bitch

Hurricane season rears its ugly head

Page 202-203, Chapter 23

As the ship pulled into the bay, the devastation was brutally evident. The crystal-clear-blue water was now murky brown goo loaded with debris. Cars and trucks were upside down and scattered along the hillside. Alongside the cars and trucks, boats that had been peacefully moored were now on land too. The trees were still there, lying on their sides after being uprooted and relocated.

Hundreds of people lined the dock and were waving their arms as they rejoiced that the ship was docking. When a typical hurricane destroys an island, the ships stay far away as they wait for the island to rebuild. When a cruise line can’t offer shore excursions and islands don’t have electricity or running water, cruise ships steer clear. This was not a typical captain, though, jumping at the opportunity to help others in dire need.

As the gangway was lowered and rolling into the dock, several other large doors opened and exposed the mass amount of food and water ready to be offloaded. Since there were no trucks or equipment to remove the bulky items, they had to be hand thrown off the ship into the people’s open arms on the dock below. Much like an ant colony, hundreds of islanders lined up, and hand by hand, person by person, they began moving the product off the dock onto the land.

Most passengers went to the ship’s port side (left side) to witness this incredible gift and watch their donations be offloaded. Several security team members surrounded the medical teams, carrying large backpacks of critical medical supplies while walking off the gangplank.

Seeing an extensive catastrophe from the comfort of your couch on TV is quite a different experience than witnessing its devastation firsthand. The passengers could see every building was destroyed, flattened, and spread as far as the eyes could see. Mother's held onto their babies while being surrounded by children who were frightened by what they had just faced. The men were frantically trying to clear roads as they tried to find food to feed their families. It’s times like this when many question their faith, wondering why God would do this or allow it to happen.

Many of the officers and senior staff members left the ship to lend a hand in their field of expertise. Crew members who didn’t have the skills to offer were taking their cash and bundles of personal clothing and donating them. The destruction and devastation were beyond what words could describe.

A few hours after arrival, the PA system fired up again. “This is your captain. Again, we appreciate all you have given, including the $10,000 in cash that was raised to help. In addition to cash, your clothing donations will really make a difference, so we thank you for this. We were notified of an orphanage that was destroyed, and I have dispatched a team to rescue them. We may be here a little longer than anticipated. When I have further details, I will keep you informed. Thank you.”

Hearing the announcement, women, mothers, and grandmothers were visibly shaken. They realized that those weeping infants and children had no families to protect them. No one was going to hold them and reassure them that they were going to be ok.

Several hours had passed, and the captain came on once again. “This is your captain, and I am pleased to tell you that we have a group of special passengers onboard. The children of the Holy Redeemer Home have been all accounted for and are on the ship with us. They will enjoy dinner and ice cream, and afterward our entertainment staff will escort them around the ship to engage in multiple fun activities. When we know our departure time, I will let you know. In the meantime, enjoy your afternoon on the Inspiration.”

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