On behalf of the Grand Jewelers Family in the Caribbean, we would like to extend our gratitude to each and every one of you as we’ve passed this difficult time. Your prayers, love, and outstanding support have been pillars on which we continue to lean.
Our tiny little Island has gone through a Hurricane that was so strong that it had no classification, we however through his journey have persevered and are stronger. Our faith did not waiver and the lessons we have learned will be stepping stones as we move forward. May the example of help and understanding demonstrated by others be an example for all of us to follow even without calamities.
None of us woke up on the morning of September 6th, 2017 to think our entire world would change. It was time for our test. Every person you meet throughout the Virgin Islands had a story to tell.
I met a crossing guard the other day. I asked her how she was doing and she said, “If I have I tell you my story I will cry. Right now I want to greet everyone with a smile.” We later found out that her mother in law passed away during the storm and she lost her entire home. Despite the hardships, this lady immersed herself back into the duties of life. Instead of considering herself a victim, she considered herself a survivor.
As for my personal experience, it’s taken me a few days to gather my thoughts. There were nine of us riding out the storm together. Around 11:30 a.m. we finished praying as a family hoping for the best. Around 1:00 p.m. the winds intensified forcing us to move down stairs. Half an hour later, a window that was protected with a Hurricane shutter blew out of the concrete wall. The panic suddenly began all around. There was a fear of the unknown surrounding us.
There was so much pressure in my house that we ran to a bathroom with an adjoining closet. My girls started crying and a thought came to mind. This was our test, if we have faith there can no room for fear. I shared the thought with my family and once again we all started praying.
Hours passed, the sound of the wind and destruction wouldn’t stop. Finally, by midnight everything was calm again. All communication was down and roads were blocked. Members of the community joined together to clear roads, feed each other, patch up the homes of neighbors and check in on those who needed help. Watching these heroes was a source of inspiration to all of us. Witnessing simple acts of love in action was magical. So many left their own broken homes to help those whose damages were far worse.
The aftermath of the hurricane was perhaps more difficult to accept then the hurricane itself. It was as though time stopped and we were in a horrifying unending dream. Life as we knew it here in St. Thomas was changed so drastically and life had been turned upside down for so many. There was a feeling of sadness and darkness lurking in the air. The once naturalistic island we live on had been stripped of all her beauty. All the greenery was gone and we were surrounded by branches of emptiness. Tears of sadness were falling from the eyes of so many. Anxiety set in, questions started to arise. Will there be enough gas, food, and water? People started gathering as many resources as possible. Lines were long, the weather was hot making everyone frustrated. Federal aid started pouring in, curfews were in place. Everyone was losing patience hoping this wasn’t our new reality. This became our life for the next few days.
Two weeks passed and Hurricane Maria came knocking at our door step. We did not get dispirited or disheartened. St. Thomas which happens to be a tiny dot on the map suddenly needed out strength to support it on our shoulders.
Thank you for your years of support, love, patience and loyalty. We look forward to welcoming you back to our beautiful islands.
Navin Sakhrani and the entire team at Grand Jewelers
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