Published On: Thu, Sep 6th, 2018

A year later: IRMA interviews published in RESILIENCE – SXM open for business!

RESILIENCE Book cover - One year after hurricane Irma
PHILIPSBURG — One year after hurricane Irma, the corporate community of St. Maarten is on review in the book RESILIENCE – a series of interviews with business owners and leaders who took the lead again after the complete devastation on September 6, 2017. The book is available as of September 6, 2018, as a Kindle ebook and as paperback via Amazon.

The author, Barbara van der Woude, recently moved to St. Maarten. “Admittedly, I was quite anxious when I visited the island again for the first time after Irma. I fell in love with St. Maarten during a holiday in early 2017, and I certainly did not look forward to letting that romantic memory ruined by the gigantic blow that the island had received.”

Van der Woude, however, was positively surprised when she arrived in February 2018. “Of course I saw the immense devastation and that touched me. But what really struck me more was the negativity of the foreign press about St. Maarten. Of course, there had been a disaster and that had to be told, but that was not the whole story, or even the real story. I was just impressed by the strength, mentality and ingenuity of the people I met. Take restaurant Bacchus: the owner defended his wine warehouse with his bare hands and came back after the hurricane with a successful rebranding. Or Ennia, who used a ‘claims bus‘ to help customers who could not physically reach the office. Or Loterie Farm, which used the debris that Irma left behind for the construction of new projects. There are so many inspiring stories to tell besides that drama.”

The RESILIENCE interviewees are entrepreneurs or leaders of an organization on St. Maarten. The perspectives are diverse, but the stories also resemble each other in a number of respects. “They all had to be particularly courageous and bold. Those who decided to stay after Irma did not have time to hesitate. I have a lot of admiration for their care for their staff, their positive mindset and inventiveness. Through Irma they had to row with the belts they had, and that made them very creative.”

RESILIENCE is released on September 6, 2018, exactly one year after Irma. Van der Woude: ‘That seemed like a beautiful symbolic date, a day to take stock of the past year. We must not forget Irma, because she was a hard lesson in preparation for the hurricane season. But in addition, it is especially important that we celebrate our resilience, success and strength.”

Author Barbara van der Woude

Barbara van der Woude (1981) is a copywriter and teacher of Dutch. She grew up in Amsterdam, where she worked as a business journalist and a teacher in secondary and higher education. She was first introduced to the Caribbean in 2013, when she moved to Curaçao to teach Dutch and English. In 2018, just a few months after Hurricane Irma, she moved to St. Maarten.

RESILIENCE is about Irma, but actually more about the year after Irma. St. Maarten was destroyed, but the corporate community showed enormous resilience. The backbone of the St. Maarten economy, tourism, got a hard hit. This book is about the recovery from that blow. Interviews with Norman Wathey, Ton van Kooten, Richard Gibson, Helma Etnel, Arun Jagtiani, Gee Money and many others offer a humble lesson in ingenuity, creativity and fighting spirit.

RESILIENCE is available through Amazon Kindle for $ 8.99. The paperback is coming out soon.


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