Dorian survivor celebrates 88th birthday

Flora Sawyer Lowe, 88, did not think she would live to see her birthday on Saturday.

“I can’t explain what this means to me,” Lowe, a survivor of Hurricane Dorian, told The Nassau Guardian during her birthday party.

She added, “I thanked the Lord this morning when I wake up because I could hardly sleep last night.

“I said, ‘Lord, I thank you. You bring me from a mighty long way from the power of Satan onto God. And I thank you for the breath that I breathe.’ I didn’t have to be here. I could’ve been somewhere in the graveyard or somewhere with the people on Abaco that they can’t find. I could’ve been in the midst.

“But God said, ‘No, it ain’t your time. Your time ain’t gonna be until you see your birthday.’ That’s what Jesus said.”

Lowe had been living in Dundas Town for more than 30 years when the Category 5 storm ripped through Abaco in early September, killing dozens and displacing thousands of people.

She said she was taken to the government clinic in Marsh Harbour during the eye of Dorian.

It was from there, Lowe said, she was airlifted off the island by the U.S. Coast Guard.

As strangers, friends and relatives surrounded her, Lowe recalled the events of Dorian.

“I was sitting inside one of my bedrooms, sitting on the chair,” she said.

“My nephew said, ‘Auntie Flora go in the clothes closet.’ I said, ‘Boy, I ain’t going in no clothes closet.’

“He said, ‘Go in the clothes closet.’ I said, ‘No, I ga sit right here.’

“And I sit right there and the storm come. It was getting [worse] and [worse].”

Asked if she thought she would survive the storm, Lowe replied, “No.”

The 88-year-old paused briefly.

Her fragile frame began to tremble.

“The first part, it wasn’t bad,” Lowe whispered.

“It was just blowing and thing. After that did come around, I say, ‘I got to get out there.’”

She continued, “My luggage and stuff, that gone…Clothes, passport, bag, all of them gone. But, anyhow, one mind come to me and say, ‘Flora, you alive.’”

The death toll for the storm so far is 69.

As of October 18, more than 280 people were still missing.

Dorian impacted nearly 30,000 people.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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