My name is Benjamin Paul, and I will be spending the first two weeks of February working on the ground in the Bahamas to aid in restoring this island back to livable conditions. I am partnering with a team of volunteers from the All Hearts and Hands organization to take on this incredible task, one piece of debris at a time.
I've listed details below, provided by the team on-site, to show you exactly where your donations will be going. Know that this is no easy assignment, and the accommodations are slim to none. We know that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. I don't want to pass up the opportunity to join this incredible team of laborers, knowing that there is a desperate need for manpower at this disaster zone, I just need your support to get there...
Location:Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco, The Bahamas.
Work Days: Monday - Saturday
Access: The area is currently severely impacted, so access to shops and “normal life” is limited.
On September 1st, Dorian made landfall as a category 5 hurricane in The Bahamas with wind speeds in excess of 185mph, lashing the Bahamian islands of Great Abaco (pop. ~17,200) and Grand Bahama (pop. ~51,000). After striking The Bahamas, Dorian’s travelling speed slowed to 1 mph over Grand Bahama, prolonging the island’s exposure to life-threatening storm surge of 18-23 feet above normal tide levels. Dorian is the strongest hurricane on record for The Bahamas and has tied a record for the strongest Atlantic hurricane to make landfall.
Over 76,000 people have been affected and an estimated 15,000 people are in need of humanitarian aid. Response efforts have been complicated by damage to essential infrastructure, such as roads, ports, airports, healthcare facilities, government facilities, bridges and telecommunications. Lack of power supply is ongoing and almost all supply chains for the islands have been severely affected.
A team of volunteers from All Hands and Hearts has now moved into the affected areas on Great Abaco and continues to assess the greatest needs in the hardest hit communities. The assessment is concentrated on building immediate response capacity, while enabling long-term support for The Bahamas’ road to recovery. The anticipated scopes of work include debris removal, tarping, tree removal, muck and gut, mold sanitation and critical repair.
Recommended Items to Bring:
- Mattress and sheets. Bedding not provided.
- Mosquito net
- Mosquito repellent
- Work clothes. Plan for these clothes to be destroyed
- Water bottle
- Construction safety glasses
- Work gloves
- Lots of socks (these tend to disappear in a communal living environment)
- Clothes for after work, days off and community events
- Personal first aid kit, including any medication e.g. paracetamol, oral rehydration salts, anti-diarrheals, etc. (we are unable to provide any medication)
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Personal items, toiletries, towel
- Tetanus shot
- Battery/Solar fan for your bed (available at stores Nassau)
- Sharpie (for marking your belongings)
- Lightweight jacket or sweater for the rare chilly nights
- Vitamins, electrolytes, food supplements, comfort food
- Earplugs and sleep mask
- Backup battery charging pack
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Sun hat
- Sense of humor! (free)
LIFE ON AN ALL HANDS AND HEARTS BASE
The Local Area
Marsh Harbour was severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Homes, businesses and infrastructure have been destroyed, making a very austere environment. There are no shops to purchase personal items, or food.
Accommodation and Facilities (field report)
We are sleeping in bunk beds in a school classroom.You will need to bring your own mattress or sleeping pad to sleep on. There are mosquitos and sand flies so we suggest bringing a mosquito net for your bed. Camping is not an option.
Our water source is an onsite well, this will suffice for our needs, but we must be considerate of water usage. We have outdoor showers on the base.
A laundry service will be available. We will cover the cost to wash your work shirts daily, however, you will need to hand wash your personal clothes. Occasionally, for a fee you can have personal items washed for you, this will go directly to the local providers for their time and effort.
This will be communal living at its finest! You’ll live together, work together and eat together with your fellow volunteers—moments of privacy are rare. Please remember, we are living in an area recovering from a disaster so these facilities are by no means luxurious. Some would call it rustic; we call it home.
I NEED YOUR SUPPORT
Your donation will go directly towards funding this trip and some of the necessary provisions listed above. There are many people with a heart to serve, but unfortunately, most of us are simply unable to drop what we're doing and rush to the aid of those in need. With your help, I will be able to play a significant role that directly impacts the people of Marsh Harbour who've just recently lost their homes, businesses, and in some cases their loved ones. Together we can make a difference! Thank you for your donation.