Brilliant green rugged cliffs rise sharply from the impossibly blue Caribbean in this tiny jewel of an island. The relaxed atmosphere belies the trauma that has been suffered from the violent eruptions of the Soufriere Hills, beginning in 1995. Montserrat's capital city, Plymouth, was wiped out, along with its major sources of income. Since then, over half of the island's population has moved away, and a large segment of the south is in the "exclusion zone" with travel there prohibited.
If the delightfully sweet ocean breezes and the easy ways and smiles of the Montserrations could be bottled and sold, this would be one of the wealthiest countries on earth! Each night of our stay at the Erindell Villa Guesthouse, we were lulled into the deepest sleep by the singing of the crickets, frogs and the wind in the coconut trees.
|Helicopter at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, with the steaming, cloud-covered Soufriere Hills volcano in the background|
|Miles from the eruption site, the ash river from the pyroclastic flow created new land in the sea while destroying the communities and golf course nearby.|
But just around the corner from the destruction is sweet, laid-back life....colorful island style:
And did I mention church? A more lively bunch of believers you'll never find! Tambourines a-plenty, hankies waving - Soca (Southern Caribbean) music in full swing. They are living it out: "Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." Isaiah 35:10