N.S. expat living in Bahamas works to rebuild life after Hurricane Dorian

A former North Preston, N.S., woman who lost six friends and everything she owned when Hurricane Dorian ripped through the Bahamas in early September says she’s thankful her life was spared.

The Category 5 hurricane ripped off roofs, overturned cars and tore down power lines. As of Sept. 15, the death toll was 50 and the number of people missing was 1,300.

Krishaunda Cartwright moved to the Bahamas 11 years ago to be with her husband, Gerren.

“I have a confirmation of six lives that were taken. I still have friends … missing, so they have not been declared deceased at this time,” she said.

Last week, the couple brought their two children to Nova Scotia to temporarily live with Krishaunda’s mother and sister in North Preston while they try to restore things back home.

“They’re resilient and they’re strong, but they miss my husband and I, and that makes it harder for me,” she said. “I just need to make sure that they’re OK … but they’re missing home.”

On Saturday, Oct. 5, a benefit gospel concert that is open to the public will be held for the family at Saint Thomas Baptist Church in North Preston.

Samuel Provo-Benoit is one of the organizers.

“They’re [going] to have to rebuild their life from nothing, so this benefit concert will definitely bring some sort of help to them,” he said.

The couple’s concrete home in Grand Bahama — one of the areas hardest hit — is still standing, but the inside was destroyed by Dorian, leaving no walls and only the wooden frames. Their furniture was also ripped apart.

“At first, I was just shocked. I couldn’t say anything,” Cartwright said.

“I was videotaping, I was crying, just trying to make sense of it all because … your sane mind just cannot fathom the fact that you have a washer and dryer set and they are on the outside of your home.”

The family lost all of its valuables, including Cartwright’s wedding ring and all important documents, except for their passports.

“I’m just waking up every day… and I’m just thanking God for the breath that I have in my body … for life, and for him sparing my family and the friends that he has spared,” she said.

Before the hurricane struck, Cartwright and her husband gathered their children and went to her mother-in-law’s house about 15 minutes away and more inland.

While there, they experienced raging winds and debris hitting the house.

Cartwright’s family stayed in the master bedroom, which ended up caving in and leaking.

She said the hurricane sat over them for two days. During that time, they ate sandwiches and snacks, and used large bottles of water for flushing the toilet, bathing and drinking.

“It was a nightmare even just trying to ration out enough food for the people that were actually in [the] home surviving the storm,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright is playing a key role in helping the Bahamas recover from Dorian. She works as a system control operator with the Grand Bahama Power Company.

“I’m just focusing on restoring the island, like just trying to build a future,” she said. “It’s hard, it’s difficult, it’s a scary situation to be in because, of course, I was left homeless.”

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