Bahamas Missions Trip - Blog #1
Updated: Feb 7
I am getting a crash course on Hurricane Dorian, and is not a pretty story.
We started the morning traveling around Freeport with Stephanie, our host. Stephanie hails from the Western Pennsylvania Conference where our bishop for 12 years was the one and only Thomas Bickerton. She is currently heading up relief efforts for The Bahama Conference, as the director of Bahama Methodist Habitat (Not the U.S. organization).
Traveling the island is sobering: trees snapped by the high winds, vegetation browned, much dead, because of the water swells which were as high as 3-4 feet. They say never can anyone remember the water coming this far inland. Houses and businesses were flooded, roofs and siding blew off. Some homes and businesses simply collapsed.
When Dorian hit at the beginning of September, too many factors colluded to create havoc. First, it was high tide - the highest - called a king's tide. Then it hit... and hovered for 2 days, moving only one mile and even changing direction so as to hit the same places twice. The island that was hit the hardest was Abaco with 20 foot storm swells. We may go there at some point this week - unknown - as plans change day by day. Perhaps one of the most devastating longer term outcomes was the water supply - breached by ocean water and an oil spill. We - and everyone - are drinking bottled water.
So far today we have been working with a delightful group of 3 very talented Bahamian carpenters at New Hope Methodist Church which had to be gutted after the storm. Wendy and Tom Vencuss, the other pastors of the US continent, commented on how much had been accomplished since their visit in December.
Today we have been prepping walls for painting and painting the kitchen and what looks to be a meeting room. (Don't be too hard a critic; I am giving it my all - novice that I am). This evening, we will offer a Train the Trainer in disaster recovery. More on that next time. In the meantime, another wall is calling for paint!
Blessings on the journey,
P.S. More photos to follow... later.