BAHAMAS RELIEF MISSION
Students and faculty are helping the Bahamas post Hurricane Dorian.
On September 1, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Elbow Cay in the Bahamas. It landed as a Category five and brought mass destruction to most of the island and every resident in need of help. Since then, mission trips, boats and planes of doctors and volunteers have been sent over to bring supplies and their skills to help the Bahamians affected.
During the weekend of September 7, senior Cassandra Messinger traveled over to the island to lend a hand to those in need. Messinger left out of the Port of Palm Beach on the Bahamas Paradise Cruise. However instead of it being a vacation cruise as normal, it was a humanitarian cruise full of over hundreds of doctors and volunteers with supplies like water and food.
Messinger said, “There were over a hundred different doctors, nurses, surgeons and just everything you can imagine.”
The ship docked in Freeport, Grand Bahama and unloaded the supplies that were brought. Because the destruction from the hurricane was so horrible many volunteers were unsure if there was even going to be dock left to load onto. Once all of the supplies were unloaded, they were then transported to different warehouses throughout the islands so they could be evenly distributed.
Messinger said, “When we got there we unloaded the supplies immediately, but there were a lot of Bahamians waiting there who wanted to come back to Florida with us. We ended up bringing 1,000 Bahamians back with us.”
Because of the large amount of people who wanted to leave the island and seek shelter in Florida, there was an immigration and customs center near the dock where Bahamians waited for hours just to get through the extensive lines, hoping to return with the volunteers.
Since Hurricane Dorian was so recent, the most essential resources for the Bahamians are food and water. Messinger remembers that in many of the most eastern parts of the island the destruction is so massive that most of the buildings are completely knocked down and the residents’ belongings are lost.
Messinger said, “The most important thing they need right now is 100 percent water, because all their water is contaminated, none of their sewage or pipes work, they don’t have any drinking water and are unable to take showers… and obviously water is the first thing that people need to survive.”
Although this trip was successful in helping the Bahamians, there is much more that needs to be done in order to relieve the Bahamas from the mass disaster. Many students and faculty are taking the initiative to help after the horrible events, and some believe donating supplies is not enough.
Assistant Principal Attallah McLawrence said, “Right now we should focus our attention on the Bahamas because they need us more than anything. I just wish I could be there, to be in the trenches. Yes, of course I’m gonna donate resources and do what I can, but I would love to be there helping them directly.”
Supplies drives for diapers and other necessities for many Bahamian residents have occurred schoolwide, however the help doesn’t stop there. Student Government President, Kaitlynn Adams has organized a schoolwide plan to collect resources and fundraise for the Bahamas. The first meeting to address the plan was September 5, and consisted of a large group of students, all presidents of various clubs around the campus. Adams goal is to, not only help the residents of the Bahamas as soon as possible and provide as much as possible, but to also continue the plan in the future.
Adams said, “We’re going to continue fundraising for the Bahamas, but our most important goal is to connect with an IB school in the Bahamas, because even though most of their houses and schools are destroyed, they’re still going to have their exams when we do, which really sucks.”
As many students may know the International Baccalaureate Program has the same exam dates all over the world, meaning the students in the Bahamas have to continue learning through these hard times. Being Suncoast students, many understand the struggles of having to learn everything before the test date, which is why Adams’ club is aiming to do everything they can to help the neighboring IB students.