I’ve not written in a while due to being ill. And, yes, I’m sick again. It appears I’m to become the poster child for tropical diseases. So far, this year, I’ve had dengue, sun poisoning, and now parasites. Got worms? But, this little piece is not going to be a “blow by blow” description of my current status. Believe me, nobody wants that! Instead, it is going to be about the community that we have here on Cozumel. A community like no other I’ve ever come across, or even knew could still exist in these often harsh times. Let me give you a few examples. Oh, and I’ll be digging in the archives for some photos of our island to go along with this since I’ve not had the opportunity to take any lately. But, I’ll have some fresh ones for you soon, that’s a promise. Okay, back to the examples.
I’ve lived here for almost two years now and in just that short a time period I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with some nice folks. Whether it be swimming, having coffee, riding bikes, eating dinner, or volunteering, I’ve been able to make some great friends. But, it wasn’t until I got sick again that I realized just how special the people here are, even when the chips are down.
In the last two weeks my mailbox has been flooded. Folks want to know where I’ve been, if I’m alright, or if there is anything they can do. People have offered to walk my dogs, get me food, pick up meds, you name it. I’ve been given phone numbers of doctors, names and prices of alternative medications, and have been offered rides more times than I have fingers to count. Now, I could imagine this happening if I was a celebrity of some sort, but, I’m not. I could imagine folks offering help if there was something they’d want in return. But, they don’t. In more ways than I can tell you, the people on this island have helped me through these last few weeks. And they all did it with a smile and a request that I contact them if I needed “anything.”
Now, I’ve had the opportunity to sit and try to figure this out. In fact, I’ve been in bed so long I think my butt has changed shape. Is it because we’re an island and remote? But, nope, we’re not that remote, at least not these days. Or, maybe it’s because there is a special bond between people who move to another country? But, again, no, the locals who were born here do the same things. Is it something in the water, perhaps? Well, there might be something in the tap water, but I don’t think it causes folks to have big hearts. In other words, no matter what my writer’s imagination comes up with, I keep going back to the thought that it’s because we aren’t just a community, we’re a family.
So, with that in mind I started watching the messages that go back and forth on our local, online sites. Someone asked about a place to eat. Suggestions poured in. Someone else had a refrigerator that needed to be fixed. Numbers of local repairmen were offered and ideas were exchanged. A woman was looking for a photographer, a man was looking for a home, and both of them got answers. Someone lost their dog and many shared the pic of that dog on their own pages. The dog was found. The examples of good people wanting to do good things can be seen here daily. Whether it’s through volunteering, helping a sick friend, or just plain listening, the folks here make themselves available.
Now, just like a family, we have our squabbles too. We don’t all share the same world views, not by a long shot. Our politics, tastes, and interests vary, sometimes drastically. If you ever wonder about that, again let me suggest you take a peek at our online sites. We’ve got some strong personalities here, and that’s a good thing. Life could get very boring otherwise. But, when all is said and done, I haven’t met a person yet who wouldn’t try to help out another. In spite of all my world weary practice, my cynicism is melting.
So, here I sit, almost finished with my latest disease, and I can’t wait to get out and about. There’s so much to do. You see, it’s the holiday season and all the lights are up, all the parties are planned, and I have a very big family to visit. Salud!
p.s. The painting of the boy in the hammock is called “Teodoro” by Sarah Pritchett, and she has other great pieces on display at El Coffee on calle 3, between Melgar and 5th. The photo on top of this piece of the woman underwater was taken by Robin Fore Fite. Thanks ladies!
And, finally, I’ll be bringing some of the holiday highlights to you soon! Hope to see you here!