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Survivors Picking Up The Pieces

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 RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FOR many Hurricane Dorian victims who were lucky to survive the monster storm, the uncertain process of picking up the pieces of their lives now begins.

One of those victims, Edward Reckley, is not troubled by much.

He evacuated Abaco, but his home is intact.

While he saw dead bodies in the Marsh Harbour clinic, he is not emotionally scarred.

Though the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium is crowded, he is comfortable with its accommodations.

“My only complaint is my wife,” he told The Tribune outside the gym. “She want carry my six children and run to the States.”

Deciding what to do can be fraught with problems for those displaced by Hurricane Dorian. For families, it can be worryingly contentious.

“I tell her look here,” Mr Reckley said on Tuesday. “I still got all my things the hurricane ain’ destroyed. My truck there. Her car turned over, but all you have to do is turn it back and take it to the mechanic. My house windows break but ain’ nothing wrong with the roof. We full with grocery that could last for the year if no one steals it. The biggest problem is dealing with the water because it was so high in the house.”

Mr Reckley is 74 and his children are between eight to 18-years-old. They want to follow their mother to a country where he already has two daughters.

What they don’t know, he said, is they are “leaving good for worse.”

“Plenty people here trying to get to the US and Canada, but they don’t know what problems that’ll be,” he said. 

Asked how they will resolve their conflict, he said – without much conviction – that he is no longer worried.

“I tell her do what she’ll do, but I ain’ going anywhere. But I don’t want her carry my children. If I gon’ die, I gon’ die in my house.”

Meanwhile, Guiller Pierre has had enough of the Bahamas and wants to return to Haiti. The 33-year-old came to Abaco in 2010 and lived in The Mudd while working at Out Islander Construction. Two of his friends died in the storm and he figures life might be better in Haiti where he once did masonry work.

To get back, he’ll need more than the two dollars he has in his pocket. When The Tribune encountered him walking from the gym to a gas station, he said he evacuated Abaco with just a five-dollar bill and no money in the bank.

“I’m going to get two sodas, one for me and one for him,” he said, pointing to his friend. “I think that should cost three dollars. The next two dollars will be my last and I will keep them tight, tight, tight.”

Several yards away, Roscoe Cash, 38, said he hadn’t seen a dollar bill in more than two weeks and joked that he doesn’t remember what it looks like. Since fleeing Abaco, he said he has stayed with a friend in Pinewood, but regularly visits the gym to be with his wife, who is six months pregnant. 

“The food isn’t good for her, she spits and always has to have a cup for that and she has cramps when the baby moves up and down,” he said.

Minlimde Edmond, his 30-year-old wife, interrupted him. Her medical concerns have been addressed at the shelter and the food is fine, she said.

But Mr Cash continued to insist the place isn’t fit for pregnant women. 

Gabrielle Strachan, of Leisure Lee, Abaco, is among the scores of Bahamians who evacuated to the United States earlier this month, after Hurricane Dorian decimated the island.

For Ms Strachan, life in Abaco was “a dream come true.”

She had a comfortable home and a good paying job. However, after Hurricane Dorian left her home in complete ruins, remaining on the storm-ravaged island was not an option for her.

She said: “We lost everything in the storm. My family and I moved (to the US) for shelter and access to food. We applied for work visas (in the US) so we could work in restaurants because we don’t want to work over here illegally….”

Ms Strachan and her relatives are still waiting for their work permits to be approved.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I feel for Mr. Reckley's wife - she should just leave her husband, perhaps for good.

Video footage and interviews of the survivors from The Mudd, Pigeon Pea and The Farm reveal that, notwithstanding their impoverished way of life, most of the survivors have an unusually large number of children in their families with even more already on the way.

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