My Heart Aches for Grand Bahamians

Photo via Laura Hancock

Photo via Laura Hancock

Three weeks ago Hurricane Dorian stalled for 30 hours with winds reaching 200 mph over Grand Bahama resulting in catastrophic destruction to an island already ravaged by Irma in 2017, and Matthew in 2016. Grand Bahama has a special place in my heart because last year, I was an Assistant Professor at the University of The Bahamas (UB) teaching education courses and supervising student teachers. It was fun, interesting, a great learning experience, and an exciting new cultural adventure. And I loved my students!

Being pummeled by rain and ravaging winds for days created life-changing damage for many Bahamians. Sitting under 6 feet of water for 24 hours, the International Airport is completely destroyed, and until it's rebuilt, which could be some time, much-needed tourism and trade will not return. The impact on the economy and everyday life is devastating.

The University's first floor where all faculty and administration offices, library and a few classrooms were located was completely destroyed and washed away. My former colleagues and friends lost their resources. The library lost everything, the Grand Bahamas special collections, books, and technology. Hawksbill Hall, the new student residence was gutted. There is no infrastructure. So much was lost. 

Here’s what the UB looked like in happier times during Culturama in May, and the contrasting aftermath at the university after Dorian.

From my former friends still living and teaching at UB-North classes resumed today, September 30th, in churches, banks, and other available spaces. There is deep-seated resilience within the Bahamian people. They will rebuild with time and money. 

Please help Buddy Hield, a Grand Bahamian from Eight Mile Rock, and NBA player for the Sacramento Kings and donate to his Go Fund Me page: 

Hurricane Dorian Relief in the Bahamas.