Sunday, August 29, 2010
The day I met Alejandrina, Hurricane Felix was whirling our way. The category five hurricane was rapidly gaining momentum and was predicted to hit land within two hours, on the North Coast of Honduras, twenty kilometers from Alejandrina’s simple home.
Usually I relished interviewing clients, and today shouldn’t have been any different. Alejandrina’s courage and steely determination was inspiring; against the daunting odds of poverty, she was building a better life. On her third loan from the Adelante Foundation’s micro-credit program, she had created a profitable clothing re-sale business. With the earnings, her goal to fortify the house she and her husband built had been realized—rotting wooden planks were switched out, two cinder block walls were constructed, a leak-proof metal roof replaced the dilapidated jerry-rigged tarp covering.
Proudly showing me around her two room abode, Alejandrina appeared unshaken by the tinny voice broadcasting a clear warning from the radio: Stock up on canned food and clean water, Felix is coming!
A queer, ominous light streamed through the unprotected windows. The dark brooding sky hung over us like an evil force preparing for battle. The air was hair-raisingly still. Raw fear electrified my being; I needed to get home.
Hastily fleeing to my car, I couldn’t help wondering if Alejandrina’s house would survive nature’s imminent smack-down. She met my uncertain gaze with the confident smile of a warrior. Decades of adversity mapped out across her face. Three years later I’m still awed by Alejandrina’s unflappable fight against life’s unrelenting storms.
This post was entered in the GranTourismo HomeAway UK Travel Writing Competition for August: Portrait. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.