Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
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Shelter residents feel stagnant weeks after Dorian

A month after Hurricane Dorian’s catastrophic landfall, some shelter residents at the former Bahamas Academy campus on Wulff Road expressed feeling stagnant as they try to rebuild their lives.

Alina Guerrier, 40, said she was a housekeeper and dressmaker living in The Mudd, Abaco, before the storm.

The mother of two said she lost everything in the hurricane, including her sewing machine and work permit.

On Monday, Attorney General Carl Bethel told The Tribune that storm migrants who no longer have jobs “need to go home” regardless of whether their work permit is expired or not.

“I feel bad because I was living there for 15 years, and I have two daughters,” Guerrier said. “My husband passed away years ago, and now I have nothing. Everything is gone. This is sad.

“I don’t know exactly what we could do. I only pray that God could make a way. I know what he is capable of, and the government can do what they want. God is in control.”

She said she began searching for employment two weeks ago, but has been unsuccessful thus far.

She said: “I don’t have anywhere to work now and I have two kids. It’s just sad, and it’s very hard.”

Guerrier remembers swimming to shelter in the midst of Dorian’s deadly storm surge and 185-miles-per-hour winds with her two daughters.

She said: “I remember my eight-year-old telling me, ‘Mommy, I cannot make it no more.’ That was very hard for us.”

She said she hopes to find work in New Providence as nothing is left for her on Abaco.

Woodland Louis is also at the shelter, and said he has been living on Abaco for 26 years. He said he feels neglected as no one has checked up on him since the storm.

“I talked to my boss only one time, but he said he was going to call me back. I never get no call,” he said.

“I [have been] working for government 26 years, and everything gone. I [have been living] here at the shelter for one month, and I can’t get no paycheck here. Nobody checking for me. This don’t make sense.”

Louis said life at the shelter is not for him and his family, and in the next two weeks, he wants to move out.

He said: “If they (the government) don’t move me, then I will move myself. I have to try and find someplace to live because I can’t live in here for two or three months. I have a family to take care of.”

Louis said he and his family stayed in The Mudd where scores of people reportedly died.

He revealed that his friends and members of his extended family perished in the storm just steps away from his home.

Louis said he worked at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport as a janitor, but wants to put that behind him and become a gardener.

He also said that he lost his work permit in the storm, and has yet to find employment since coming to New Providence.

Techelet Casimire, 56, is forced to stay in the shelter as he nurses wounds.

He recalls staying in a church in Marsh Harbour and as the monster Category 5 storm flung cinder blocks around the building, one broke his leg.

“Blocks hit me all over my body,” he said.

“I can’t find work because I cannot walk yet. They just took my cast off. I have to go back to Princess Margaret Hospital in another four weeks.”

Casimire said he was a mason on Abaco. He said heavy work has always been his style.

The father of four said that life at the shelter is not as bad as others claim, but he is determined to relocate to any island for work once he gets back on his feet.

Unemployment climbed following the storm as the economies of Abaco and Grand Bahama are at a standstill.

Thousands of evacuees have come to New Providence from those islands.

The challenge with finding work and housing is expected to be significant.

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