We were talking in my Spanish class on Wednesday, about the tornado that hit the States this week. The teacher, who is from Spain, asked why people weren’t safe in their basements. But apparently, according to a Texan classmate, there are no basements. Well what, I asked, do people do? The answer: they get in the bathtub and cover themselves with a mattress. No joke. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the best that the US has in the twenty first century, when it comes to protecting themselves from the elements. A bathtub, and a mattress.

My Spanish teacher wondered what happens if you have a large family. I thought back to a conversation I had had with a guy who works in Haiti, who said that the difference in hurricane preparation between Haiti and Cuba was perhaps the most salient sign of the devastation of that country and the complete break down of the state. “In Cuba everything is planned – down to tying down the chickens. But a hurricane in Haiti means utter destruction.”