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.
Today is Giving Tuesday – a day that encourages people to give, to collaborate and to do good deeds. Which makes it the perfect day to help the thousands of Bahamians who’ve lost their homes and livelihoods to Hurricane Dorian.
Here’s an updated list of organizations who are doing good things for our Bahamian friends and family members displaced or affected by Dorian. Some agencies are matching donations for Giving Tuesday, so your contribution will go even further.
Of the many things for which I am grateful this year, Team M/V Adventure is high on the list. Thanks to them, to the Green Turtle Club and to everyone who’s helping to give Green Turtle Cay a Thanksgiving dinner later this week.
This video of my cousin, Oswald Hall, will give you a brief glimpse into what our friends and relatives endured in the days following Hurricane Dorian.
The footage was recorded in September, but for many on Abaco and Grand Bahama, the emotions are as raw and the pain just as real nearly three months after the storm.
Ossie’s right when he says that the only way Abaconians are going to get through this experience is to pull together and make it happen. And it’s been incredibly inspiring seeing folks in Abaco do just that.
Of course, their progress to date would not have been possible without the generous outpouring of love and support from countless individuals, relief organizations and foreign and domestic NGOs.
And whereas some regions of Abaco — the cays in particular — are making strides toward rebuilding, greater Marsh Harbour (including Murphy and Dundas Towns) is recovering more slowly. In the past few weeks, several vital businesses have reopened, but Marsh Harbour has a long way to go.
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.
Though much of the world’s media has moved on to other stories, our friends and family in the Bahamas are still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
While it’s true that some communities are making progress in their recovery, many areas still have a long, long way to go. Thousands of Bahamians still have no electricity, running water or access to banks and other vital services.
The reality is that foreign aid is still very much needed in the northern Bahamas, and will be for years to come.
For those wondering how to best help Bahamians affected by Hurricane Dorian, I’ve recently updated my “How You Can Help” page. Please take a moment to check out the list and contribute if you can toward these worthy organizations.
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.
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.