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‘We Want Out Of Here’

The Kendal GL Isaacs gym, where hurricane refugees have taken shelter after being evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama. Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

The Kendal GL Isaacs gym, where hurricane refugees have taken shelter after being evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama. Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

By RIEL MAJOR

Tribune Staff Reporter 

rmajor@tribunemedia.net

AFTER living in shelters for over a month, many evacuees still have nowhere to go.

Despite complaints about the quality of the bath water and living around so many strangers, one Abaco evacuee who spoke to The Tribune near the grounds of the Kendal G L Isaacs Gymnasium yesterday said he wants to leave the shelter but has no options. 

The man, who gave his name as Mr Symonette, said: “My plan was to get a job, but nothing is happening for me. You have to know people to work over here.”

Mr Symonette said he hates the living conditions in the shelter. 

“Living in the shelter is bad. I don’t like nothing, the bathing water stinks, and it makes me itchy. I can’t take it. It dirty and it smells bad, I can’t take it living in there.

“I’m not use to this, I hate waking up and seeing the same face over and over. It disrupts my spirit. Every day I leave the shelter to release some of the pressure.”

A mother-of-one, who wanted to be identified as Ms Guillame, said she would like to leave the shelter but has no money to do so.  

She said: “We plan to get out and we are trying to look for an apartment. Most of our documents were destroyed and we need to replace them but, that’s money that we don’t have. We don’t have the money to do all of that. I was trying to look for a job, I just got a form from McDonald’s recently. 

“I feel bad because this is not the life I wanted. . .I was living in my own house now I’m living in a tent. I ate on time and I was working so I didn’t need to depend on anyone to feed me. Things was good and the money that I had saved I already spend it to buy food for my son.”

The 19-year-old says she dislikes the treatment she receives living in the shelter. She also complained about the shelter’s bath water.

“I don’t like living around a bunch of people and the way they are treating us in there. We can’t eat on time and if you want a bottle of water you have to ask for it. I also don’t like the bath water. My son had a rash growing under his arm and I’ve been putting Vaseline on it. The water also has a bad smell. We are trying to hurry up get out,” she said.  

Meanwhile another evacuee who preferred to be unnamed, said she wants to move back to Abaco. 

“I’m still at the shelter because I have nowhere to go. I can’t wait until Abaco is back up and running so I can go back. I don’t want to stay here anymore. I can’t get a job because they ask for too many things like a resume and references. I lost everything during the storm,” the resident said.  

“My family (and I) wanted to move to Eleuthera but we don’t have anybody in Eleuthera. It’s a lot to do, but thank God for life. I don’t know when I’ll be able to leave the shelter,” she said.

According to the Department of Social Services, as of October 16, there were six shelters in New Providence with 830 residents.

According to police, the official death toll from Hurricane Dorian is now at 65, after two bodies were recovered on Abaco on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday. 

Comments

Sickened 3 weeks, 5 days ago

" one Abaco evacuee who spoke to The Tribune near the grounds of the Kendal G L Isaacs Gymnasium yesterday said he wants to leave the shelter but has no options." And how is this our problem??? This person has no friends or family that will take him in and he has no money saved and he is somehow complaining to government? This person needs medication or something because he's definitely struggling from a whole bunch of stuff.

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Sickened 3 weeks, 5 days ago

"Things was good and the money that I had saved I already spend it to buy food for my son.” So your life savings was spent in 1 month buying food for your son when there was free food available? Buddy... you need to do better. Your a father for christ's sake! WORK AND SAVE FOR TIMES LIKE THIS! THINK MAN!!!!

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Sickened 3 weeks, 5 days ago

"My family (and I) wanted to move to Eleuthera but we don’t have anybody in Eleuthera." My family wants to live on the beach in Albany, but until I save 13 million dollars that ain't going to happen. Live within your means and save for the things you want.

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joeblow 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I have heard too little gratitude coming out of these shelters. I understand their frustrations, but people should at least be thankful that they are alive, son't get wet when it rains and can eat and bathe due to the generosity of donors!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Why hasn't a special unit of immigration officials been formed by now to interview and verify those among the 830+ shelter residents who are not legal residents of the Bahamas? Illegal aliens identified should be sent to an appropriate detention centre for deportation at the earliest possible time. Why all the delay in properly dealing with this? What the hell is going on?!

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My2centz 3 weeks, 4 days ago

If not for the shelter, these individuals would have been homeless and hungry...they should be grateful for that. But I've heard nothing but complaining about the food, the accomodations, the government. Ironically the most vocal have been Haitian or Haitian descent. They are so used to free living they dont seem to understand it up to them to move out of the shelter and restart their lives. Meanwhile they have to adjust to their surroundings, not the other way around. Or did they expect to be housed at Atlantis with rooom service, until someone called them with jobs and permanent housing?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Most of these complaining illegal Haitian aliens have grown too accustomed to receiving over many years social welfare, health and education benefits that have been doled out to them and their family members like candy by our current and past spendthrift governments. And all at the expense of the vast majority of overburdened Bahamian taxpayers who are struggling in their own right.

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Ton_Heijnmans 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Only savages kick a dog when it's down.

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