“In the Bahamas, what happened with this hurricane, I guess you call this kind of storm a “once in a century” or “once in a lifetime.”
Most of the initial relief has already been done. We did some hot meal programs, some food distribution, as well as giving hygiene kits and mattresses. We’ve provided desks and chairs to schools which were flooded and damaged. We’ve provided backpacks to students who lost everything so that they could return to school.
Whenever you get a disaster, you get all sorts of experiences and all sorts of persons who have different reactions. Sometimes what you think is maybe nothing to you is the world to someone else.
A particular case in point, I’m thinking of an individual that lost everything. When I say they lost everything, I mean they lost everything. When I looked at the home, it was just heartbreaking. We gave them a mattress, and they sent back a heartwarming message the next day, telling us that they had finally been able to get a good night’s sleep. Until we gave them the mattress, they had been sleeping on the floor. For us, it was giving a mattress. For them, it was the world.
When we did the hot meal program, individuals were thankful that they could get a meal for a day because there was no electricity to power their stoves, and they couldn’t cook.
When we did grocery items, persons were simply thankful that they were able to get a meal.
Grand Bahama’s fresh water supply was contaminated by seawater when a 20-foot storm surge flooded large parts of the island. Even now, the water is still not safe to drink. ADRA, in partnership with water mission, has been providing free, safe, clean water to 20 schools and their surrounding communities.
The water company allows us to pull the water from wells, which we then process through a triple reverse osmosis system. The system is capable of processing up to 12,000 gallons of water per day. The water company is tapping into a water table that wasn’t contaminated and we hope that the system will be back to normal in a few months. Until then, ADRA and water mission will continue to ensure that people are able to get the water that they need.
Right now we’re in the reconstruction phase. We’re looking at rebuilding some of the schools that have been damaged by Dorian.
While I’m not directly impacted, it’s the direct impact of the persons around me that allows my heart to be drawn towards what has happened to them and makes me say, how can I help them to make sure that they get through this situation? It’s like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, all of us are tied together in a single garment of destiny.
Thank you so much, ADRA Canada, for what you have done. We truly appreciate it.