Virgin Islanders know how to handle a crisis. We know better than to wait to be hit by Category 5 winds and rains before we start preparing to survive during and after a storm. We know better than to wait until we are bitten before we start applying mosquito spray. We know better than to wait until we’re stricken before we start getting vaccinated.

We know because teachers named Hugo, Marilyn and Irmaria gave us lessons in how to get ready for lengthy periods without electricity, without a roof over our heads and without fresh tap water.