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Bahamas Relief Update: What You Don't See

FEBRUARY 2020

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By Amanda Delbeke Amanda is a full-time staff member at Experience Mission. She spends her days helping young adults pursue a life of purpose through IMMERSION, while also coordinating on the ground logistics for Bahamas relief.

You heard the news stories, saw the videos and photos, and maybe wondering- what’s happening in the Bahamas? As our US news cycle often shows, major tragedies happen weekly, and sometimes daily. Sadly, the focus only stays on one event until the next heartbreaking reality comes along. This is exactly what happened to Grand Bahama Island after Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc in September of last year.

If you google the storm, you’ll find the data of it being the worst hurricane to ever strike the Bahamas; a category 5 that left nearly 70% of the island flooded. You’ll see the pictures from the immediate damage, houses crumbled to pieces and shocked residents standing idly by. But what you won’t see are current reports on the status of things.

You won’t see the stories and pictures of Bahamians that pushed through the heartache of destruction and were forced to find a new normal in the midst of rebuilding.

You won’t see that life had to keep moving on, regardless of how hard the realities were.

Experience Mission has a humbling opportunity to come alongside the community of Freetown on Grand Bahama Island. A town that has nine homes to be completely rebuilt from the ground up, a primary school that is currently demolished, and water that is still not safe to drink from the tap. Sometimes it’s easy to see the highlight reel of destruction, but it’s more important to seek out and hear the stories of triumph — the hope in the voices of those that have stayed put and are working endlessly to restore a sense of normal.

Once you look past the news stories, you’ll hear the small victories. For example, the family that climbed to their rafters and stayed put on a 2x4 for nine hours until the flooding receded...they now have added more wood support, alerting their neighbors of the tall and dry space in case a storm of this size ever threatens the island again.

Or you’ll hear of our community partner, who had two couches rise 10 feet in the air with the flooding, lower back down after the storm, dry out both pieces of furniture, and continue using them on a daily basis as he serves his community and opens his home to volunteers.

The resilient community of Freetown has the heart and the desire to rebuild but needs the support.

With new power lines leading to the East End of the island being installed by summer 2020, life has the potential to get back to a sense of normal within a few short months. In order to get people out of temporary housing and back into their homes, we need your help. We need your skills and your heart to serve. Together alongside the community of Freetown, 2020 has the potential to be a monumental year of empowerment, strength, and figuring out what a new normal looks like.

It’s not too late to join the relief efforts! Fill out an interest form to inquire about bringing a team!

 

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