Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Climate refugees

Hurricane Dorian. The name is sure to be remembered as one of the most destructive forces of nature. The devastation left in its wake can weaken the resolve of the strongest of us. We have all seen the pictures and videos on the news and social media platforms. Abaco and Grand Bahama have been affected in ways few, if not there, can truly understand. It is because of this that the staff at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) wanted to help.

Our first day back to work after the storm was harrowing. Many team members were unable to contact family and friends who were in Abaco, Grand Bahama or both. While no one knew what to do initially, there was one common consensus – we wanted to help. The team decided to mobilize and establish a donation drive. As the plan formalized, the NAGB officially partnered with Women United and Equality Bahamas, whose teams would volunteer to accept donations at the NAGB. Once sorted and packed, the donations would be collected by Tropix who would pass on to HeadKnowles for distribution.

Working with established organizations is truly a learning experience. There are nuances to the disaster relief response process and we will continue to learn and adapt along the way. While the immediate focus was to donate the expected non-perishable items (like tarps, chainsaws, portable stoves, air mattresses, diapers, matches, etc.), as the days wore on, our focus shifted primarily to special items for children (teddy bears, cuddle toys and the like). An excellent and helpful feature of the museum is our location. We are centrally-located. which makes it easy to serve as a drop-off site. Through it all, the NAGB team remained positive and thankful for the positive response of the public.

It is times like these when people come together unexpectedly. Whether it is to grieve, support, take action or seek comfort, we as human beings have a unique ability to empathize with each other. When I joined the team at the NAGB, I

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