I apologize for this taking longer to post than I had thought. The holidays and friends/family coming and going took a lot of time.
As in a previous post, we had a fairly full boat
for our work
effort and were well stocked. We did 7 roof repairs
, built a 12x14 shed to house a persons belongings while their house is rebuilt, a dock
repair, and a few other projects. For me, the most rewarding work
we did was for the Mackey sisters who run a restaurant called Mackey's. The restaurant was ok but their house, which is right behind it, was badly damaged. We relocated the water heater
to the side of the restaurant, replumbed a bunch of broken pipes, cleaned the windows and siding of blown sand, installed a generator
socket and did all the wiring
to get the building powered up by generator
, and removed all the trash from the area. This took 3 full days and they needed to get the place up and running as the options were very limited for food
in this area.
We kept Palarran on a mooring
in Hope Town harbor. That worked well and we would have been in great shape except the generator problem which prevented us from making water
. We needed a lot, so were very lucky to have the relief ship True North fill us up twice. Great guys and great program they have though it is very under-utilized. Water would be an issue if you need to get it from shore. They are looking at having the marina start to provide it for a price
and that may be the case now. There was essentially no food
in the grocery stores beyond the most basic caned stuff. You could get fresh bread which was a huge bonus. Of course, beer
and liquor was available.
According to the person who generally ran the command center, we came at a time where they were switching from the "recovery" stage to the "rebuild" stage. For the most part, it was difficult to see much pre-planning on the islands part to what was being done - we would call it a full out goat rodeo. I do believe him and feel they will get more organized in the future, though to what purpose I don't know. Much of the rebuilding is being done just like it was, which to me mean's the next time this happens, the results will be the same.
If you want to work in this area, the best contact is though the elbowcay.org group. You can try to contact Tattoo Pete, he seems to be the most connected. But there are a ton of groups here and on other cays and Abaco
that are also doing good work. I had posted the links earlier.
In two earlier posts I had suggested that if you are just looking to "cruise" the area, avoid it this year. I still stand by that but can say the locals would disagree and want to see people show up, regardless if they are there to help or not. My suggestion was to start to charge $100 per day for a mooring
ball unless you were going to do 4 hour of relief work because many of the people taking them right now literally add nothing but poop to the harbor situation. One guy said "I've only spent $70 in the last 3 weeks" like it was something to be proud of. We spent that in a short night of drinks at the beach bar.
Ultimately, while all of us enjoyed the work and felt some gratification internally and a little bit from the locals, I probably wouldn't do it again. It cost a huge amount of money
to support this group and the projects were really not what we had hoped for. It could have been a timing issue, location issue, who knows, but personally it didn't give me that glow of doing good in the end.
On an end note, we have been hanging out in the southern Exumas
this last week and have to say, IMO, there isn't a more beautiful spot in the Bahamas
. It's been fantastic and if you all get a chance to explore between Little Farmers and Rat Cay, take your time.