Niesha Jennings, 17, a resident of Pineridge, Grand Bahama, spent two and a half days in her attic with 16 relatives as Hurricane Dorian terrorized the island earlier this month.
“The water was almost touching the roof,” Jennings told The Nassau Guardian.
“[It was] like couple inches away from the roof.”
Jennings said her family sought refuge in the attic on September 2.
She said the two youngest individuals in the attic were one and six.
“We were up there for about two and half days,” she said.
Jennings said they spent their entire time in the attic “praying and talking and trying to think positive.”
She said a lot of time was spent “trying to get our minds off the storm.”
“My uncles, they went for help,” Jennings said.
“They swam from our house to [a shop] that was like the closest place and they tried to get help. The owners of [the shop] – him and his sons – they shot at them (my uncles), and they had to swim back.”
Jennings, who graduated from high school last year, said she was terrified as the storm tore through Grand Bahama.
“I was hoping for the best, but I was preparing for the worst,” she said.
“I just left everything in God’s hands because that’s all we could’ve done. I lost hope at one point and that was terrifying.
“I was trying to get help on my phone. I was talking to my mom on the phone and I lost contact with her because the service went down. It just was an experience I don’t think no one would want to go through.”
While in the attic, according to Jennings, the family had “a little bit of crackers and a pack of Gatorade and a pack of water.”
She said they ran out of food the first day.
However, the water lasted until the end.
“We were trying to not drink as much because we didn’t have anywhere to use the bathroom,” Jennings said.
Asked how they made it out of the attic, she said, “The water started to go down because the rain stopped and the water came out [of] the house. When it came below my ankles, we came down and we started cleaning up.”
While their single-story house sustained a lot of damage, Jennings said it is still inhabitable.
Jennings said she has not been experiencing nightmares in the aftermath of the storm like other survivors.
However, she said she is still saddened by its impact on The Bahamas.
“When I think about it, it still kind of hurts to watch a place you grew up in just disappear so fast and not knowing whether or not you’re going to come back from that,” Jennings said.
“Everything we had for so long, it just vanished. It feels like the storm just took away everything that we had.”
Jennings said after surviving the terror of Dorian, she hopes to become a member of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) to provide Bahamians with a sense of safety during the country’s darkest time.