I am a native Abaconian, born and raised by two wonderful Haitian parents. Growing up on this little island I proudly call my home was a blessing from God. Abaco is known as one of the world’s best boating and sailing destinations around the world. Although this romantic destination looks beautiful on the outside, there’s always a back story.
Being born by Haitian parents in the Bahamas is really hard because you are not considered a Bahamian by birth but by naturalization, where you have to go through a process of applying for a citizenship at 18. On the route to 18, there’s certain opportunities that come your way but you cannot embrace them because you are not able to leave the country because you have no documents to travel.
We go through struggles everyday in our lives but one thing I know is being Haitian Bahamian kids, which we are called, doesn’t hinder us from enjoying our home or interacting with the lovely tourists that come to visit the island of Abaco. I wasn’t asked to be born to Haitian parents but God gifted me with that and that’s something I would never change. I love my Bahamian roots but I also have to embrace my parents’ roots too, because they sacrificed so much for me to be here.
So many loving memories were made on the island we called paradise, whether it was good or bad. Abaco is all my family and friends and I know because we adapted to it from birth so it’s hard to let go or even forget about it. Nobody knows when their last goodbyes or last hellos are because before Hurricane Dorian we lived like there was no tomorrow. We loved each other like we were supposed to. We would always tell each other about our dreams and aspirations in life. Everyone had goals and dreams that they wanted to accomplish but then Hurricane Dorian happened.
During our preparations for the storm, we would all get together and help each other batting up houses and talk and laugh and have a good time, not knowing what the impact was about to be like. After helping with the houses, we all would tell each other be safe and see you after the storm because we thought it would be just a little pass over where trees gets knocked down and just little mishaps. What we didn’t know was that we were dealing with a storm that came to take all our aspirations and dreams away.
On September 1st Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the island of Abaco where hearts were broken and lives were shattered. What me and my family experienced that day was devastating til this day. I’m still trying to process things in my mind. It felt like the end of the world. We stood there holding hands when the roof came down on us, screaming and calling on God’s name, asking him for mercy. I personally cried because the look my mom and dad had on there faces broke me because I was not able to do anything to help or protect them. At that moment during the storm, I was making brave and courageous choices that I was not sure were going to work.
I called on God’s name, asking him, “Why us? You said you loved us. Are you gonna let me die without even accomplishing anything in life or even repaying my parents for what they did for me?” Like God said “ask and you shall receive.” We asked for protection and He provided. Even through what we were going through, we showed faith. Faith is all that you need to receive a blessing or a miracle.
I looked at my parents and said, “Hey, we’re not gonna die. Trust in the Lord.” When the eye had past, we had to run to look for another secure shelter. We were not sure that there were shelters standing that were secure enough to sustain the second part of the storm. While running to another shelter, I saw friends and that gave me faith because my thoughts were that they had died. Although I wanted to stop and give them a hug, we had to continue running. Then finally we came across the Treasure Sands shelter where everybody run to and it looked strong enough to sustain the second part of the storm.
When we got into the building everyone that I knew was in there so it was like a reunion, but a reunion waiting for death, not knowing what’s gonna happen next. While in there, we listened to the wind trying to battle it’s way into the building. But God had other plans for us, which was survival. He needed us to live to tell His story.
That next morning we decided to go out and check out what was left of our home. What we saw and experienced was heartbreaking. What we had known to be paradise was a disaster. Out of every thing that happened the only thing I can say right now is THANK GOD FOR LIFE.