It’s so natural to turn inwards when the world outside is raging. What response would be more sensible—when the ground beneath your feet is sliding every which way and everything in your life is damp—than to focus on the people you can reach? Your people?

It depends on how you define “reach.” It depends on how you define “your.”

In Monteverde, in the path of Nate, “the people you can reach” meant the people you can get to on foot, on horseback, on any means of transport that could be devised. Within reason, or even a little beyond. Whatever it took to rescue, help, and serve.

In Monteverde, in the path of Nate, your people meant anyone in need. People you’ve grown up with, but also people you’ve never met before, have passed but don’t really know: in the high cloud forest, a mountain ridge can make a big difference. When the lights went out and the water was cut and the outside world was stripped away, the people tucked over a hill or several degrees of kinship away became “your people,” to each other.

That’s what we all hope for, in the end. That when the storm arrives, as it always will; when it passes, as it always does; when our own home is finally dry; when a lamp is flicked on with a cheer; when that moment comes, we’ll blink and look around, knowing that we didn’t huddle under our roofs. We walked out into the rain to find each other.

Text by Katherine Stanley Obando, inspired by a report by Karina Méndez about the way that residents of Monteverde and surrounding communities reacted to Tropical Storm Nate in 2017. Karina is an inaugural member of our national solutions journalism community, Network 506. Our weekly Media Naranja column tells short love stories with a Costa Rican twist. During our July edition, they will focus on love of many kinds—romance, friendship, neighbors’ bonds—that have been showcased or affected by emergencies in Costa Rica.

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