While some anxious to rebuild in east GB, others might not return

EAST END, Grand Bahama – Despite the desolation of East End, some residents have vowed to rebuild their homes and settlements in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

“When I came back and saw the conditions of my house, I was horrified,” said Leon Laing, 75, of Pelican Point.

“I didn’t know what to say or what to do. This is my house that I’ve been living in all my life. I know what I put into my house and to see what I saw when I returned after, it had me very, very frustrated.”

He said it may cost him roughly $60,000 to rebuild.

“The next move is to try to get my house back into shape so I can try to move back home,” Laing said.

“I’m trying to make it much stronger and safer in case [of] a hurricane next time.”

It’s been more than a month since Dorian pounded Grand Bahama and Abaco.

Debris still lines the sides of roads.

A bleakness lingers over the barren streets of East End.

Many of the buildings are without roofs and walls.

Only frames remain in many cases.

There are only a hand full of residents still living in the area.

Many residents of these settlements have relocated to the United States, New Providence, other parts of Grand Bahama and elsewhere.

However, some refuse to abandon their homes, businesses and settlements.

“I have been cleaning the debris out of this building since the storm hit,” said Texas Cooper, 67, a resident of Freetown.

“There’s pinewood, leaves and all sort of stuff. It’s still a process, but I got to do it. I’m going to bounce back. I won’t let it hold me down.”

While some Grand Bahamians are optimistic of their ability to recover following Dorian, others are finding it difficult.

Delcina McIntosh, 50, a chef, is from McLean’s Town.

As she stared at the gray sky, McIntosh said, “I don’t think I can sleep home now because when I was by my son, I was having nightmares.”

She paused as though she were still processing the horror of Dorian.

McIntosh took a deep breath and then added, “I would get up and say, ‘The water is coming on the driveway. The water is coming.’

“And they would say, ‘What you saying?’

“I went outside and I open the door and when I looked there was no water coming. I guess I was having a flashback of what I saw. The other night, I had a dream like I was back in McLean’s Town and like I saw the ocean come back on this place.”

After observing the destruction that Dorian caused, she said she is not sure she will be able to return to live.

“I am like up and down,” McIntosh said.

“I think I would return eventually. I know I’ll get over it, but for now I want to be in Freeport for a while.”

The government appears confident that rebuilding will occur.

“The Minnis administration will do all that it possibly can to restore East End,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, who also serves as East Grand Bahama MP.

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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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