I drive a lot in the Bahamas. I visit the islands several times a year for business, and I have lots of friends there. I started off selling steel and other industrial goods, but nearly everything in the Bahamas must be imported. Almost everyone I know there has asked me, at one time or another, to find them something and ship it or bring it over myself. In fact, every time I go to the Bahamas, I bring things in my bag that don’t belong to me: pool filters, fuses, hair extensions, cellphones, shoes, laptops…You name it, I’ve most likely brought it there on the plane.
But now, after Hurricane Dorian tore through Abaco and Grand Bahama, it’s a different story. They need items more important than hair extensions and pool filters. I kept in close contact with friends there as Dorian hit and parked itself just north of Freeport for more than a day. They sent me scary videos you didn’t see on the news. Most of the emergency supplies are in, but now the most important thing is power. The grid will be down for some time, and most homes and businesses need to be rewired completely after the flooding.
The Bahamas needs generators.
Many have asked for generators, but many can’t buy them right now. I’m shipping eight generators this week (paid for by someone in Nassau). But the need for more generators is overwhelming. I have started a GoFundMe campaign to send a truckload of generators to Freeport to help them get them on the road to recovery. Our goal is to get 10 small gas generators and at least 2 large diesel generators to the island by September 25.
I love working in the Bahamas, and I love the people: always cool and laid-back. The food is fire: minced crawfish, peas-n-rice, sheep’s tongue souse, conch salad, fish stew and Jonny cakes for breakfast. The service everywhere is friendly. Even the money is pretty. When I go to Long Island, they leave me the Japanese car with wrong-sided steering wheel at the airport with the key on the tire. There’s a relaxed energy here that’s hard to find anywhere else (maybe in the Keys, but still not quite). I eat at conch shacks by the side of the road, and some of the best places to eat are nothing more than someone’s house set up like a restaurant.
The Bahamas is our closest foreign neighbor. And a little-known fact is that Bahamians played a major role in the settling and development of Miami. Google it. You’ll see: Vizcaya, Coconut Grove; limestone engineering and hurricane advice. The ties are many. Let’s not forget this, and let’s help them. Bahamians are resilient and resourceful. They’ve seen plenty of hurricanes, but nothing like Dorian. Let’s try to get these people up and running again. Please donate today!