By Alani Gregory

October 20, 2017

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My grandmother was filled with grief as she told me by phone about life on

the island of St. Thomas after Hurricanes Irma and Maria had blasted through

it. "Tears keep running from my eyes uncontrollably because everyone on the

island is suffering," she lamented, then paused, too sad to continue. I

could picture her in her car charging her cellphone - the engine idling in

the background. The decades-old mango tree that I had climbed as a child was

now uprooted and stripped of all its leaves; the vibrant tropical landscape

replaced by an eerie brown hue. "Everything is now rubble," she said.