I am on my way to Montego Bay. I am sitting in the plane and see my son looking at me from the other side of the street. I see my wife hoping that I will not get on the plane. It was this morning, a couple of hours ago. I had scheduled this trip to Jamaica a while ago. I am going there to do a series of in-depth radio stories for Swiss Public Radio and to cover the August 27 elections. I had not planned with hurricane Dean. As we left New York, it was a category 4 storm and was about to become a category 5 hurricane as it was making its way toward Jamaica.
I was suddenly faced with a choice. Should I postpone the trip or get on that plane and head to a place people would desperately want to leave if they could ? I was on the phone to my wife. I knew she did not want me to get on this plane but she would not say it. I made a choice of going and report was I was going to see. If Jamaica is hit hard, the people are going to need aid. And to get that aid quickly, they will need as many reporters as possible to tell the rest of the world what just happened on their island. I covered the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans two years ago. I remember the rotten smell around the Superdome. I remember the saddest looks on children faces. I remeber the dignity of the people of New Orleans. This morning I thought about it when I decided to board the plane to Montego Bay.
My son’s look this morning will help me do my job in the coming days. I firmly believe that it is the choice who makes us who we are. The one I made this morning was difficult. But as I look at faces of the people in the plane around me, I know it was the right one.