Hurricane Patricia, the strongest Pacific storm in recorded history, fortunately came ashore in a sparsely populated area of the west coast of Mexico. The media reported that “Mexico dodged a bullet,” but the residents of small fishing villages like La Manzanilla did not dodge anything.
Our Mexico City office monitored the storm’s approach andd launched a team with a convoy of vehicles and supplies that included mobile kitchens, tool trailers, chlorine generators and chain saws. They paused in Guadalajara and waited for the storm to hit.
My sister Judy, an artist, lives in La Manzanilla, a village known for its postcard seascape and wild crocodile sanctuary. Judy and her husband, Philipe, were building a new home on high ground overlooking the sea and living temporarily in a sturdy one room house.
Darkness fell and the wind started to howl; as the eye raged closer, Judy texted me saying, “We are under the bed with the cats; I’ve never heard sounds like this; it’s awful and we are scared and praying out loud.” Their roof and shuttered windows held, but many neighbors were not so fortunate. When the sun came up, Judy texted saying, “Please send the OBI team, our village is decimated and we need help.”
While waiting for our team to cut their way through roads choked with fallen trees, Judy visited every villager and made a list of those hardest hit, with priority given to the elderly, single moms and those with disabilities. Operation Blessing supplied building materials and a local crew worked nonstop for many days, installing 20 new roofs and clearing countless tons of debris. We also purchased necessities like beds and bedding to replace what was ruined.
My sister says OBI was the answer to so many prayers in this village. And that is all because of friends like you who made it possible – thank you.