‘What is the next step for us?’

Two weeks ago, Gertha Joseph, 35, a resident of Marsh Harbour, Abaco, and her four-month-old son were faced with a life or death situation.

However, after surviving the horror of Hurricane Dorian, Joseph is now facing another difficult situation: what to do next?

“I don’t have a next step,” she told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.

“I’m just happy that I’m still here. I don’t have a next step. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know where to turn. I’m just here waiting just like everyone else, trying to figure out what to do.

“Nassau is overcrowded. It’s hard to look for an apartment because the apartments are so expensive. I don’t know if it’s because everyone from Freeport and Abaco [are] here. The prices of the apartment don’t even make sense.”

On September 1, a video of Joseph and her son went viral on social media.

She pleaded for her life in the video.

“Everyone, please pray for us,” Joseph cried desperately.

“[It’s] me and my baby. Everyone got safe in our apartment building, but we’re stuck right here.”

She was surrounded by dark, murky storm surge.

The scene was as grim as the rest of the island.

A neighbor had to rescue the mother and son.

However, despite the terrifying experience, Joseph still wants to return home.

“I miss home,” she said.

“There’s no place like home.”

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government is considering establishing tent cities on impacted islands for storm victims.

“Each unit would have two bedroom facilities and you have recreational facilities,” Minnis said.

“You have facilities for police and you have dining facilities and cafeteria facilities; so it’s really a city.”

But, Joseph questioned how that would work.

“I want my life to get back to normal,” she said.

“Okay, the government is saying they’re going to build these tents in Abaco, but for how long would people have to stay there? How long would we have to live like that?

“Would the government give us a chance to rebuild? What would be the process for you to start building your own home?

“Or would the government help us – those would’ve lost everything? What would be the next step for all us?”

Joseph left Abaco on September 12 via charter plane.

She said the process took long because “everyone was trying to leave the island”.

After arriving on New Providence, Joseph initially resided in a shelter for storm victims.

However, she left because it was “overcrowded [and] not comfortable”.

“When you have your stuff, people take your stuff because they don’t have it,” Joseph said.

She added, “Someone decided to help me out and they paid for a hotel for me for a couple of nights. “

Joseph said storm victims from both islands are doing their best to “try to survive” in the aftermath of Dorian.

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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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