The taxi's motor died three times as the driver wound his way around the fallen trees and through the flooded streets of Havana. He was trying to get me back to my hotel before the worst of October's Hurricane Irene hit Cuba's capital. Each time the decrepit Lada—a Soviet version of a small Fiat—stalled, I climbed out to push it out of the deep water. And each time help appeared.
When I moved with my family to Tegucigalpa two years ago, we assured our friends that compared to the other places we had lived in Central America, the Honduran capital was a tranquil and relatively safe place, exempt by its location from earthquakes, hurricanes and the other natural disasters that plague much of Central America. And then came Hurricane Mitch.