Several times over the years, I’ve written about the importance of Junkanoo to Bahamian culture.
For well over a century, Green Turtle Cay residents have gathered on New Year’s Day to welcome in the coming year by donning colourful costumes and marching through town accompanied by a cacophony of cowbells, whistles and the infectious rhythm of goat-skin drums.
But when Hurricane Dorian devastated Green Turtle Cay this past September, the storm not only destroyed the island’s Junkanoo shack where residents gathered to make costumes and to practice, but it also ruined many existing costumes and instruments.
With so many locals left without homes and jobs, and with so much rebuilding to do, it seemed unlikely they’d want (or be able) to stage a 2020 New Year’s Junkanoo rush.
Thank you to everyone who has helped to make Christmas a little brighter for the people of Abaco. If you’re in Abaco, please feel free to drop by any of these events for some Christmas cheer. All are welcome.
On Man-O-War, a Christmas Sing-A-Long will be held tonight, Wednesday, December 18 at 7pm at the Gospel Chapel.
The township of Marsh Harbour and Marsh Harbour Volunteer Fire And Rescue remind donors and potential donors that only the individuals listed below are authorized to collect donations (material or financial) on behalf of MHVFR.
I’ve received numerous reader emails since Hurricane Dorian and by far, the most commonly asked questions are “How can I help Dorian victims?” (which I’ve answered HERE) and “What Abaco businesses are open?”
To keep everyone informed (and to help me keep track, since the list is growing daily!) I’m compiling a master list of open Abaco businesses, which I’ll share over the next few days here on the blog.
Until the 1970s and 80s, few Green Turtle Cay residents had home telephones. Most had to walk to the hilltop telephone station to place calls.
Later, the VHF radio provided a vital communications link for local residents. What it lacked in privacy, I’m told it made up for in entertainment value.
Thankfully, over the past few decades, communications in Abaco have improved significantly. Not only have land lines become common, but the quality of cell service and Internet rivals that in the U.S. and Canada.
But then came Dorian. And now we’ve gone back – quite
literally — to the drawing board.
A lot of blog readers have emailed to ask how the Green Turtle Cay Ferries fared during Dorian.
Prior to the storm, GTC Ferries had four vessels in operation: Bolo, Bolo II, Bolo III and Bolo IV.
With Dorian churning toward the island, the ferry company hauled Bolo and Bolo IV from the water and secured them on the hard at the boat yard. They tied up Bolo III in Black Sound and moored Bolo II deep in nearby Munjack Creek.
Today makes two years since we lost Eric Sawyer so unexpectedly. His passing was a shock then and it’s still difficult to accept.
I wanted to take a few minutes to remember him (if I close my eyes, I can still hear his laugh) and to send love to his parents, Brian and Caroline, his sister Michelle and her family, his brothers Ronel, Peter and Richard, and his thousands of friends in the Bahamas and around the world.
When Tom and I arrived on Green Turtle Cay last week, we were prepared for what we would meet. We’d seen the images and heard stories of the destruction Hurricane Dorian had visited upon this little island.
What I wasn’t expecting was how beautiful New Plymouth still is. Bruised and battered? Definitely. Still in need of help? Absolutely.
But, as the saying goes, true beauty comes from inside, from the heart. And the heart of Green Turtle Cay is bigger and stronger than ever.
Though some of our young people have left Green Turtle Cay post-Dorian, many remain. And on Thursday evening, local residents took a few hours away from the ongoing recovery effort to stage a fun Halloween event for the town’s children.
Late last night, Tom and I arrived back in L.A. after a week in Abaco. Witnessing the destruction wrought by Dorian was heartbreaking. Even having seen it first hand, I have trouble believing it’s real.
Some of you may know that Tom’s a foreign correspondent for Canada’s CTV National News. When he took a week off work so that we could get to Green Turtle Cay and check on Fish Hooks, he planned to shoot some video for me to use here on the blog.
In the end, however, the journalist in him took over, and he put together the following news story, which aired nationally in Canada this past Tuesday.