he best way to describe Hurricane Dorian would be to say it was mother nature’s troubled child, a category 5 preternatural disturbance that had its mind set on destroying the Islands of The Bahamas. The sheer terror of not knowing when or if you would see your loved ones again was a feeling that plagued me for 4 days. All communication was lost. It was 4 days of tourture-hearing reports of the ocean stealing children from their father’s arms and sharks swimming in homes looking for either an easy meal or refuge themselves.
I spent four days in Vancouver, a city 2,958 miles away from my family, all while watching two major islands in a country I’ve known all my life be decimated into tropical wastelands. The guilt I felt was overwhelming, knowing I had just said goodbye to my mother, not knowing if I was really saying it for the last time. Once I was finally able to speak to my mother and brothers, they gave their accounts of how they had survived the storm. As the wind and water ripped through our family home and destroyed our memories, they hid in my younger sibling’s bunk bed. Thankfully, they were evacuated to the nation’s capital, New Providence, without any major injuries. My family has lost everything, our home in Treasure Cay, Abaco is gone, but they are grateful for their lives and that we have each other.
Unfortunately, according to local news reports, over 1,300 persons may not have had the same fate and are still missing. The islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, now seem uninhabitable, with major oil spills, flooding and infrastructural damage that will take years to be restored. Thousands of families are without food, water and shelter, having to start over elsewhere after only escaping the hurricane with their lives.
The recovery and relief efforts are now underway with many countries pledging to assist. I encourage the Vancouver and BC community can join in those efforts. Firstly, visit doriansupport.org where a list of legitimate major hurricane relief donation, charity and support groups are all in one place. Persons interested in donating can do so via the website through the organization of their choice.
Secondly, if you truly want to help The Bahamas, visit one of the other islands that has not been affected by Hurricane Dorian. Our country is heavily dependent on tourism, with 700 islands and over 2,000 rocks and cays for you to choose from. All of these other islands that are open for business and every island can suit your needs. If you want an exceptional fishing experience, visit the island of Andros. If it’s the world famous swimming pigs you’re after, visit the Exumas. There are a ton of new experiences you can try and each island is unique. The islands of The Bahamas are all under the same sun, surrounded by the same clear, turquoise waters, so if it’s just to experience soft, white or even pink sand (check out Eleuthera or Cat Island), the beach is never too far away.
Hurricane Dorian took a part of paradise away from us when it decimated the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Our little archipelago is where the world comes to find peace, tranquility and to celebrate the good times in their lives. We are naturally friendly, happy people, optimistic people and this hurricane will not change or break us. We will rebuild, but don’t want the world to forget the other islands and the people of The Bahamas who have survived and rely on that paradise to survive.