This is mildly annoying to those of us from and familiar with North. We tend to develop a sort of reverse snobbery about our island, asserting that the things we don't have make us superior. No shopping areas, fancy restaurant, casinos, traffic problems ... it's the real paradise! Sometimes we describe North Caicos in terms of the past: "It's what Provo was before it got crazy."
Yes, "crazy" is the word we use. Provo is the "big city," and though many of the things we need are there (building supplies beyond the basics, a hospital, pharmacies, vet services, the airport, etc.), we complain bitterly about needing to go there. It's a hassle, it's an expensive day and the traffic sucks. North is the kind of place where, if your vehicle's reverse gear doesn't work, it doesn't matter. Not so, Provo.
Lately, though, I am having to revamp my opinion of Provo. It wasn't good news that caused my change of heart; it was an accident. In November, Jaliyllah Rosati (pronounced Ja-lee-lah) was hit by a car while trying to cross a road there.
The damage was bad - several broken bones and fractures and brain injury that required a craniectomy. She had to be sent to Doctors Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas.
Jaliyllah is an ex-pat, a long-time resident of Provo, and she is well known because of her work as an assistant/planner/organizer within the veterinary community. A close friend, Beryl Nelson, accompanied her to Nassau.
The recovery has been and still is painfully slow. During the time that Beryl spent with her, she was in a coma. He posted daily reports on Facebook which quickly spread through the islands' coconut telegraph.
No one wanted her to be alone and in such trouble in a distant hospital, so her friends quickly rallied. People have been taking turns flying to Nassau to stay with her and continue the reports; fund-raising to cover all these costs has begun; interCaribbean Airways has announced that flights for the volunteers will be gratis; a holiday pantomime by the Turks and Caicos Friends of the Arts Foundation has been dedicated to her.
In short, we are seeing Provo as a community! Behind the commercialisam, tourism, politics and hustle there is a heart. Jaliyllah isn't just one more statistic on an island too busy to care.
Provo is redeemed for me, and likely for many more of us out-islanders. And that is my Christmas story for 2014.