no bad days in Cabo San Lucas, and most will agree this is truth. It’s a tough mantra to argue with considering fun afternoons of play spent in paradise, cocktail in hand and not a care in the world. Still, every so often Los Cabos is indeed hit with a bad day, and August 31st was one of them. Tropical Storm Lidia rolled through town with thrashing 65 mph winds, dumping 27” inches of rain in a 24-hour period – more than the area has seen since 1933, according to Baja California Sur Governor Carlos Mendoza. The destruction the storm caused was overwhelming, and the devastation could be seen along the tourist corridor from downtown Cabo to the outreaches of San Jose and beyond. The rain combined with inadequate drainage systems caused extensive flooding, and massive mudslides let loose from the mountains that act as the backdrop to an otherwise idyllic tourist destination. And when it was all over, Cabo got to work. The helpless victims of Lidia found themselves relying mostly on the kindness of strangers. And the strangers showed up, showing the character of Cabo, with arms extended. Immediately, donation drives for food, water and clothing were set up by independent citizens, with drop off locations popping up all over town – from Eclectic Array to Drip Spa to Tanga Tanga. For weeks, community members collected and dispersed items to those in the greatest need. The barrios of Los Cabos, where poverty is highest, were hit hardest by the storm, with ramshackle homes slapped together within the arroyos – dry creek beds meant to act as drainage for prolific rains. Living in a gulch in the direct path of the downpour – let alone the intended line of the effusion itself, caused countless homes to simply wash away, with everything a family owned inside. Clearly, the barrios needed urgent assistance. Faryn Massy, an American with a home in Cabo, established a crowdsourced Go Fund Me campaign with the goal of collecting $50,000 toward the relief and rebuilding efforts of Los Cabos. Once the fund has been sourced, the money will be used for food, water, clothing, hygiene and medical supplies and more. Massy is currently funding her personal pilgrimage out of her own pocket, maxing credit cards to give as much as she can. And she’s not the only one. Small groups and singular efforts across town have dug deep into their wallets, funding their own private relief undertakings where nothing official exists. But the money, while integral to the endeavor, is the tip of the iceberg. Daily shopping trips and subsequent disbursement of food and goods were a next step, both a humbling and rewarding experience for volunteers. One local restaurateur choreographed with an independent group to provide raw ingredients for several prepared meals, in turn committing their time, staff, and facilities to prepare enough food to serve upward of 300 souls at one time. The commitment is an ongoing one- so long as the materials are provided, the bargain is met on the other side. And from there, begins the disbursement. For this particular donation, the prepared food is loaded up in cars alongside purchased 5-gallon refillable water bottles, and other items meant to provide relief to those most in need. Caravanning to a new barrio each day, the group systematically sets up an assembly line of service out of the back of their cars – serving up a hot meal, and handing out water or Gatorade, bags of dog food, and donated clothing and diapers. With each trip to the barrios, word spread fast that assistance had arrived, as laughing children, often sans shirts and shoes, run full speed toward the volunteers, and cars packed with entire families arrive, eager for a hot meal. One local group created a plan they coined Clean for Food. Armed with extra-large black trash bags, they called on the children of the neighborhoods to fill one up with garbage before they were awarded a plate of food. The outcome was not only a cleaned up arroyo, but a game of sorts as children happily ran around picking up the strewn about trash, and ultimately feeling great pride in earning their meal. Another group organized an afternoon with a local senior center, handing out ziplocked packages of toiletries and sundries, endless bags of donated clothing, and serving up a meal and drinks to the grateful residents. As live music played, the volunteers danced alongside the elderly, making the experience as much about a day of enjoyment as about service, and the smiles and thanks were what one volunteer called “a natural high”. The benevolence and altruism of a few who care for so many without a thought for themselves is especially inspiring. The continued efforts are cause for exhaustion to be sure, but the emotions brought about by the experience- among them, a deep sense of humility, and even a bit of fulfillment at the found smiles of so many hurting, are worth every moment. What has risen from the tragedy of Lidia is heart, and it’s been said no beauty shines brighter than that of a good one. Cabo San Lucas has stood up after Lidia knocked her off her feet, she brushed herself off, and has shown her heart, proudly displayed upon the sleeves of a selfless community.
HOW YOU CAN HELP VICTIMS OF TROPICAL STORM LIDIA?
- Monetary donations can be made by clicking the link at the top of our Destino Magazine or Baja Home Facebook pages or by going to www.gofundme.com/lifeafterlidia. 100% of all proceeds will go to those in need with absolutely no funds used for administration, marketing etc. Tax write off receipts can be provided upon request.
- Physical donations of non-perishable food, water, baby food, formula, diapers, first aid kits, clothing of all sizes, underwear, shoes, furniture, blankets, bedding, towels, etc. can be dropped off at Eclectic Array or the Drip Spa in downtown Cabo or in San Jose in Plaza Pescador.
- Don’t forget our animal friends! Dry and wet pet food, cleaning supplies, blankets, towels, dog bowls, collars, leashes, etc. can be dropped off at the Drip Spa in downtown Cabo or by contacting Cabo Critters on Facebook (@CaboCritters). Donations are not only used for animals living at the shelter, but also distributed to locals with pets in need!
- Keep your Los Cabos travel plans or BOOK A TRIP to Cabo! Every tip and tourist dollar spent in this area helps the locals get back on their feet!!