Abaco Artist – Kim Roberts
When you walk into Abaco Ceramics, located in Abaco Shopping Plaza, you find yourself,not only in a shop, but in an art studio, a hub of creativity. There, the owner, artist Kim Roberts welcomes you to shop not only for her latest creations but also to browse among the displays of other artists and crafts people’s creations.
As you absorb the atmosphere of the place, you are overwhelmed by an explosion of happy colors surging from all the different pieces exposed. Be prepared, once you enter Abaco Ceramics, you will not want to pull yourself out of the magnetic atmosphere of the place. There will always be something you have not deeply examined or that you want to look at again, wondering where in your home it would fit or for whom it would be a nice present.
All the ceramic pieces are created and fired in the shop, all the Green Ware made by Ceramist Barella Gardner and painted after the first time in the kiln by Kim Roberts. They will be fired again after being decorated.
Kim explains that there are now about twenty design lines she created with more being added on a regular basis.
There you will find all kind of ceramic or earthenware items to fulfill your whims: tableware, garden items, serving pieces, decorative tiles, house signs, plant pots, plant stakes, lamps and more. Kim Roberts has created several lines of decoration from Bahamian sayings to turtle, fish, butterfly, octopus, bee and more, all in vibrant colors. The latest line offered in support of her husband Beekeeper, Terrence Roberts, who harvests the “Honking Goose” honey from his hives and offers other honey bees products.
In Abaco Ceramics, you will find art and craft representative of several islands of the Bahamas, such as canvas paintings by local artist Lucas Key, silk paintings by Tiffany Barrett, raffia baskets from
Andros, candles made in Nassau by Bigitti, placemats from Long island and Androsia fabric by the yard.
Always willing to share her talent with others, Kim Roberts started classes at the end of April. On Saturday afternoons, attendees can learn about mosaic, ceramics and earthenware. Mark your calendars should you want to diversify and add new inspiration to your creativity!
A born artist, Kim says that she started to make pottery at the age of seven, while growing up in Nassau. Her mother used to drop her to pottery classes after school, she recalls. Decorating and painting her creations were already part of her creating process. She went on attending classes at Palm Beach Atlantic College, where one of her Professors encouraged her.
Where did she find her own specific style? “I always did art as a child, she said. I always liked colors and whimsical stuff.”
Where did her inspiration come from? “I love Picasso and local Artist, Amos Fergusson was a big inspiration” she replies.
Kim Roberts moved to Abaco in 1993, to become the Art Teacher at Forest Heights Academy High School. She also taught Art classes for adults before Hurricane Dorian.
Kim Roberts can be reached at: 242 375 8774
Jewels of The Bahamas
One of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, coral reefs have persisted for over 25 million years and most living reefs are between 5,000-10,000 years old! Corals are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions where they benefit from clear warm waters and available sunlight (though there are corals that live in deeper colder waters). Despite their floral appearance, corals are in fact animals living in colonies, which when combined with others make up a coral reef.
Coral reefs are home to a host of animals and plants which support the marine food web and play a key role in marine environmental health. Take parrotfish for example: they help keep coral reefs clean by eating algae, and they create sand as a by-product of the dead rock and coral that they also consume. Over 80% of the sand on our beaches comes from parrotfish poop! On the whole, coral reefs have a variety of roles called “ecosystem services” that extend their value beyond the ocean. Reefs provide coastal protection, food and medicine, and opportunities for livelihoods and recreation. This is especially important in The Bahamas where communities rely on the sea for sustenance, and coral reefs have become a major tourist attraction. Recognizing the value of reefs, The Bahamas became the first country in the region to establish a marine protected area (in 1957) and has since followed up by creating a network of marine protected areas to conserve habitats including coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove wetlands.
Marine protected areas on their own are not enough to protect coral reefs. We humans can do our part by modifying our behaviour to reduce the impact of threats such as pollution, habitat destruction, unsustainable fishing, and climate change. The Bahamas is a coastal nation; all actions, whether on land or sea can impact the health of our marine environment. Natural threats to reefs also exist, for example hurricanes and disease. In those cases there are also things we can do to mitigate their impact.
If you are a visitor, or new to coral reefs, we encourage you to learn more before you visit. Seek information on local regulations and guidelines from your hosts, and visit www.friendsoftheenvironment.org for resources.
Making headlines recently, stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) is severely impacting reefs in The Bahamas and Florida. As its name suggests, SCTLD causes death of coral tissue, which in turn reduces diversity on reefs and eliminates habitat and food sources for other animals living on the reef. Help reduce the spread of SCTLD by cleaning your gear in between visits to reefs, and if you are a boater, be aware that your bilge water may become contaminated. For further info on how to properly disinfect your gear and bilge water, please visit: https://www.perryinstitute.org/sctld
Now that you’ve learned a bit more, we hope you take the time to visit a reef and safely enjoy the wonders for yourself!
Don’t touch or step on corals, this can kill them or make them sick and vulnerable.
Refuse/reduce single use plastics, ultimately reducingdemand for fossil fuels.
Conserve water. Reducing runoff helps keep our seas clear.
Only eat seafood that is sustainably caught (in season, up to measure).
Walk, ride a bike, or carpool to cut back on fossil fuel consumption and pollution
Support organizations working to protect or restore reefs.
A Pool of Opportunities for Foreign Investors
Over two years ago “The Great Storm,” Hurricane Dorian, hit Marsh Harbour and the Cays with never before experienced full force. It destroyed most of Central Abaco, also inflicting serious damage to many other parts of the island before continuing its ravage onto Grand Bahama.
The destruction, however, did not diminish the resiliency of many Bahamians who, barely a few months later, were seeking to invest in stressed or abandoned properties. Halfway through 2020 foreign investors had followed suite and, before the bulk of reconstruction had started, many real estate properties had been sold contributing to the steady climb of real estate prices.
A year later properties located on the water on Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay, and especially on Elbow Cay had jumped back to before Dorian prices. The quick cash deals were gone!
So you would ask, what is left for present days foreign investors wanting to come to Abaco with the hope of making a return on their money?
According to local realtors, attorneys, business owners, and local Government officials Abaco still offers many investment opportunities. Dorian destroyed so many houses that have not been rebuilt yet, and might never be, that the island is suffering a major shortage of rental properties. Because of the influx of foreign managing staff and domestic workers from other Bahamian islands rental properties are in demand in a broad range of prices.
Some of the former owners who left the island after the hurricane with no intention of coming back have collected the insurance money and are selling their houses at a reduced market price. Therefore considering buying a “fixer upper” could offer a certain lucrative future, the timing of which depending on how long the buying process takes.
Short terms rentals are also a major possibility. Many houses on Green Turtle Cay, Elbow Cay, Great Guana Cay, and Man Of War Cay, are already on short-term rental sites such as Air B&B and VRBO.
For the environment- friendly investor, another long-term possibility might be to seek government land in areas relatively close to Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay Airports to develop eco-lodges. Areas such as Snake Cay, Camp Abaco, Casuarina Point, Israel Creek, even further North or as far South as Sandy Point (boasting a small airport) would offer definite possibilities for such an endeavor.
Certain businesses are reserved for Bahamians only. However, if willing to partner with a local, an investor might consider for example, developing a marina or approaching the BAIC (Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation) to find out possibilities.
A foreigner wanting to invest in agriculture or light industry would have to submit a proposal to the National Economic Council of The Bahamas as well as proof of funds to support the project and apply to the Prime Minister’s Foreign Investment Office. A favorable government’s approval could be granted if they think the project is in the best interest of the country.
For example, an easy-growing crop such as Blue Agave would not be in opposition to what local farmers grow and would allowthe creation of a small industry to extract the Agave Nectar or a distillery to produce tequila.Investing in agriculture or light industry would also fall under the real estate regulations, as it would involve the purchase or lease of land.
Let’s review the real estate buying process for a foreign investor.
After viewing properties with a realtor, an initial price offer on the chosen property will be communicated to the seller, which the seller will either accept, counter or reject. When a sale’s price agreement has been reached, the parties will sign a letter of Intent prepared by the purchaser’s realtor. Vendor and buyer will then each retain a Bahamian attorney of which the vendor’s attorney will draft a formal agreement for sale (unless otherwise agreed upon). The parties will both sign the Agreement for Sale and the buyer will place a minimum of 10% deposit of sale’s price to be held in escrow by the seller’s attorney. The title search and title examination will be conducted by the buyer’s attorney, followed by an application for permit to purchase from the Bahamas Investment Board, if required. Once the title is approved, the closing documents will be prepared. The vendor & purchaser will execute the closing documents and buyer will provide the closing funds.
The above-mentioned process usually takes approximately 60 days.
After closing, the buyer’s attorney will take care of paying the VAT on conveyance, of having the real estate property tax transferred to purchaser, obtaining the Certificate of Registration from the Investment Board and if relevant, notify the Home Owners Association. Then the purchaser’s conveyance will be sent for recording.
The Bahamian Government is presently offering an incentive to buy properties under $250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand Dollars) by cutting the conveyance VAT from 10% to 6.5%.
Since summer of 2021, reconstruction around Marsh Harbour and the Cays has been moving at a very fast pace, especially for commercial buildings. It seems that for many, the Thanksgiving and Christmas deadline that they had set for re-opening their businesses was approaching fast and they wanted to be ready for the start of the tourist season.
So come and visit Abaco for a night, a week, or longer. Get in touch with a Realtor.
Meet with an attorney. Consider the endless possibilities besides real estate, some of them being agriculture or light Industries.
To quote Ms. Hull, one of the attorneys who provided the legal information, “Opportunities go as fast as they come.” The present inventory of homes and business might soon be gone!
Before Dorian, Abaco was the second biggest contributor to the Bahamian economy and it will be again.
In September 2019 Hurricane Dorian changed the landscape of Abaco forever. It quickly became evident that the island would never look the same.
Most of the capital and central hub, Marsh Harbour was completely wiped out. What wasn’t destroyed by the tidal wave was ruined by the tornadoes and strong winds. There was pretty much no viable business left in the town.
But the residents of Marsh Harbour are resilient and quickly set their minds on rebuilding, making the town better than ever.
Two and a half years later, the positive change is almost unbelievable. Progress and transformation can be seen every day with a short ride through the town. Construction can be witnessed around every corner. And each building that has rebuilt looks better than it did before.
Marsh Harbour’s two main grocery stores, Maxwell’s Supermarket and Abaco Groceries, quickly reopened after Dorian, expanding their inventory to offer more building and home supplies.
Shopping plazas are being built and rebuilt everywhere you turn. Abaco Shopping Plaza quickly made repairs and opened its doors for rentals. The old B&V Plaza was rebuilt and turned into a motel, Abaco Suites. Dove Plaza is being revamped. The Lowe’s Plaza has been redone and will soon be open with businesses. The old A&K Plaza is currently being rebuilt, along with a new plaza right next door. Resilience Square is a brand new plaza on the airport road. Flamingo Plaza and the old Bellvue building are also being repaired.
Resorts and Marinas are rebuilding in Marsh Harbour. Great Abaco Beach Resort has rebuilt and opened its doors to guests. Conch Inn Marina is making progress with construction and plans to reopen. Harbour View Marina is also making great strides to rebuild and reopen to full capacity.
Dine-in restaurants are coming back as well. Anglers Restaurant at Great Abaco Beach has reopened, as well as Colours by the Sea. A brand new restaurant, Cat 5 has opened in Resilience Square. Wally’s Boutique and Restaurant is making repairs to reopen soon. Snappas has plans to reopen when the new Conch Inn is completed. Jake’s Restaurant has plans to move into the Lowe’s Plaza.
North of Marsh Harbour there are lots of options for eating as well, including Calpyso Hills and Da Valley.
And in the South there are options such as Nancy’s, Pete’s Pub, and Slip Away.
There are also many options for takeouts all over the island.
Many hardware stores can be found on the mainland. Premiere Imports reopened its doors shortly after Dorian. Maxwell’s Supermarket added a hardware, which will eventually move to it’s own location. Abaco Hardware has been operating on a smaller scale and is making strides to rebuild. And Standard Hardware is also well on its way to cleaning up and rebuilding.
Boutiques and shops are also coming back. Tipsea Canvas has opened in the Insurance Management building, selling canvas bags, souvenirs, and much more. Abaco Ceramics is now under new management and can be found in the Abaco Shopping Plaza, selling ceramics, local spices, candles, and more.
Both Marsh Harbour based ferries, G&L and The Ferry at the Crossing, have reopened and are offering trips to the cays several times daily.
The Green Turtle Cay Ferry has also continued operation, and offers round trips several times daily to and from the cay.
Pinder’s Ferry in the North also has restarted its trips to and from Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Hotels, motels, and rentals are readily available. Great Abaco Beach Resort, Calypso Hills Hideaways, Island Breezes, Abaco Suites, and many other options, including Air B&B Rentals, are available all around the island.
Car rentals can be found all over the mainland, as well as boat rentals for those wishing to explore the water and shores.
Royal Bank and First Caribbean have reopened in Marsh Harbour; however they are both in new locations. Royal Bank has moved to the Abaco Shopping Plaza, and First Caribbean has relocated to the Abaco Neem building on the airport road. Commonwealth Bank reopened in their original, but revamped location.
Schools are opening and reopening over the island. All Hands and Hearts has done a ton of work to help the local schools rebuild and reopen.
Churches, businesses, stores, and houses all around the island are being repaired, rebuilt, opening, or relocating daily.
Rev, Batelco, Aliv, Water and Sewage, Bahamas Electricity, and all other utilities are reconstructing and making updates to their systems to offer better services to the island.
The Abaco cays have made huge strides at rebuilding over the last two years. And in some cases, even better than Marsh Harbour. With the great sense of community, and with the help of the second homeowners, many of cays are almost back to where they were pre-Dorian.
One of Abaco’s most famous cays, Hope Town, is booming. Shops, stores, and boutiques are open all around the cay. Hotels and marinas are thriving, including Hope Town Inn and Marina and Lighthouse Marina. Many restaurants are back in full swing, including Abaco Inn, Hope Town Inn and Marina, Capt’n Jacks, On Da Beach, FireFly, and several mom and pop take outs. The Hope Town Museum is also continuing to rebuild. Hope Town has proven its resilience and that it will forever be known as “Hollywood.”
Just north of Hope Town, Man-O-War is also making headway to rebuild. The Man-O-War Museum and Coffee Shop has reopened, offering coffee, treats, and a full history of the cay. And there are many local shops and boutiques that have reopened as well. However with no restaurants open at the moment, there are quite a few locals who cook and sell meals daily.
Guana Cay has proven its strength in the rebuilding process. As one of the last cays to regain electricity, the locals have incredibly continued to rebuild. Grabber’s Restaurant is open in full swing, and Orchid Bay Marina is open at a limited capacity. Baker’s Bay, a private resort and community to the north of the cay, has also reopened and continues to progress in rebuilding.
Green Turtle Cay has also made incredible advances at rebuilding and bouncing back to what it was pre-Doran. There are tons of restaurants to choose from on the cay, including Harvey’s, Pineapples, Green Turtle Cay Club, Sundowners, Bluff House, and the Wrecking Tree, which should be opened in early 2022. There are now two coffee houses on the cay, Nick’s Café and Calypso Coffeehouse. The Monument Garden has been reconstructed, and the local museums should be up and running soon, offering information on the history of the cay. Marinas have reopened, including Bluff House and Green Turtle Club. And the famous New Plymoth Inn is being restored and reconstructed by its new owners. The locals are excited to see the new opportunities that are heading their way.
A marina is also open in Spanish Cay, which is a small cay in the north.
The scenery and foliage is bouncing back to its original, beautiful landscape, with greenery and flowers blooming and flourishing all over.
With great help from IDEA Relief Bahamas, the waters are becoming cleaner than ever. The organization has been vigorously cleaning up and removing debris left on the ocean floor from Dorian.
There is so much positive change happening daily that it is almost impossible to keep up with it all.
The landscape of Abaco may be changing every day and may never look the same, but one thing is for sure, it will look better than it did before Hurricane Dorian.
Hope Town Canvass
Have you heard of Hope Town Canvas? Many of you may have. It’s been one of Abaco’s most exciting new businesses on the rise since 2013 and now going on its eighth year of business. What started as an idea on a kitchen table has grown into a prominent Bahamas wide brand. Let’s take a walk with them on their journey.
We started this business out of inspiration from a pile of old sails in our back yard. Remnants of a previous family business, Abaco Bahamas Charters which was the first sail boat rental company in Hope Town in the 70s. I would sit and think what could we do with these sails? As an artist at heart I was prompted to create. Self taught to sew and with the help of my husband and family, by Christmas of 2013 we had our first collection.
The first few years our business grew incredibly fast. We started out selling our product in the family restaurant, The Harbours Edge. We had great local support from the beginning and that continues still. By 2015, we built a new building to be the new home of W Sailbags, our production studio, and a new store front Hope Town Canvas.
Since the opening of our store we have continued to keep things on the move. Each Collection we did, encouraged us to do more so our styles and designs grew. Our selling markets have also grown throughout the years, not only do we offer our Collection in our own storefront but we have expanded to other Bahamas wide markets.
We’ve had a huge success selling our product at the Captains Table in Lyford Cay, Nassau. We also have two venues selling for us in Exuma. You can also find our sail bags in both the Nassau and Marsh Harbour departure lounges. Surprisingly our biggest growth was after the tragedy of Hurricane Dorian.
Post dorian we were inclined to do big things. It was the hardest days of our life and also the most inspiring, definitely a life and lemons situation. We were blessed to not have tremendous damage to our studio and storefront in Hope Town and with one of our previous employees displaced and living in Harbour Island we took the big leap to open our second full storefront. Keeping our staff employed so they could all get their lives back together was my motivation after the storm. We put everything we had into it and out of it came a new storefront in Eleuthera, Harbour Island Canvas.
It was really scary, but I also had dreamed of it for years. Harbour Island has always been a special place in my life, so with the chance to have a store there it all seemed like a fairytale.
We celebrated the grand opening by taking our entire team there in February 2020, it was a success and we had a bright new future. This new store was the building block to keep our staff back in Hope Town at work and to help each and every one of them to rebuild their lives.
As soon as we opened the world was hit with Covid, not the start we expected but I’ll say we managed to stay strong through it and now we are getting into our second full year and the store is flourishing.
We love sharing our Bahamian made one of a kind sail bags with the world and supporting the local communities around us. We are proud of our team and their hard work and commitment to our ever growing dreams. We are excited for everything still to come. We dream big and work hard and we are always exploring for the next market. Most of all we are grateful for the journey, for the blessings, and looking forward to the future.
The Great Storm
The island of Abaco will forever be changed because of what happened on September 1, 2019. As Hurricane Dorian was approaching the Bahamas in August of 2019, no one dreamed it would be so devastating. In the days before landfall, all of Abaco prepared, but no one suspected what was to follow. Everyone thought if Abaco could make it through other hurricanes, such as Floyd in 1999, it would surely make it out of this one. But no one knew what Dorian had in store for Abaco.
Hurricane Dorian quickly intensified to become one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and the worst hurricane to affect the Bahamas. The record says that the maximum sustained winds reached 185mph, but those who were in the hurricane would say it was probably more than that. Not only did the sustained winds wreak havoc, but also the tidal wave and many tornadoes devastated the island. The storm hit Abaco on September 1, 2019, and the situation grew dire quickly. The massive tidal wave swept over the mainland of Marsh Harbour in the first half of the storm, destroying everything in its path. Sometime around midday the eye of the storm finally made its appearance. In this time, the horrid winds died down and gave many of the locals the time they needed to make it to safety before the second half hurried in.
While the waters had receded and many were now in safer locations, the second half of the storm would be grueling. The first half lasted less than two hours, but the second half lasted for what seemed like days. Hurricane Dorian stalled over the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, moving at approximately 1mph, and devastating the island more with each hour.
Once the winds finally died down enough for the locals to venture outside, for many it was the first glance at just how devastating the damage was.
The entire center of the town of Marsh Harbour was destroyed.
And the entire island was in bad condition. No one was unaffected, and there were hundreds of people missing or deceased.
Those next few days were a blur for many of the locals as they tried to escape from the nightmare.
Community Come Together
There are many affects that natural disasters and trauma can have on a community. For some it brings about a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality, where the affected go into survival mode, doing whatever it takes to survive.
And while that did happened, a beautiful sense of community also arose.
Members of the community came together. Homes were shared for the duration of the storm. People went out of their way to rescue, house, and help all around them. Some families provided shelter for up to eighty people during the storm. People that never spoke to each other helped each other out, and people that barely knew each other became family.
While the streets of Abaco were filled with hugs and embraces. Everyone who came into contact with someone else they knew that survived hugged and cried in each other arms.
The sense of community was felt in Abaco in a way like never before.
The World to the Rescue
It was in Abaco’s worst hour that the entire world came to the rescue. All eyes were on the victims of Hurricane Dorian. And everyone wanted to help in some way.
It wasn’t long before helicopters and boats came to the island’s aid by bringing donations, offering rides for evacuees, and helping in any way that they could. Social media and the news was flooded with love, support, GoFundMe accounts, #AbacoStrong, and #BahamasStrong.
Within days, Abaco was filled with rescue volunteers and donations from across the world.
I had the pleasure to watch a local hometown man land his helicopter on the property next to his childhood home and run through the neighbourhood on a mission in search of bringing his parents to safety. And this was not an isolated incident. Any and everyone who had access to the island was using whatever connections and strings they had to do anything they could to help.
For over the next year, and even up until now, Abaco has been filled with volunteers, humanitarians, missionaries, and workers. And we cannot thank each and every one of them enough.
Abaco has made it so far because of all of these hard working people.
A Big Thank You
Team Rubicon was some of the first responders on Abaco. With many veterans on their team, they came equipped and ready to help the community. The volunteers hit the ground running and didn’t stop. From clearing debris to rebuilding homes, businesses, and schools, Team Rubicon served Abaco greatly.
World Central Kitchen was a lifesaver for the people and provided meals for the whole island of Abaco for six months. They provided jobs for the locals and many opportunities for an income. And as a part of their “Farm to Plate” program, they helped local farmers rebuild.
Christian Aid Ministries quickly moved in working on the mainland and the cays to help with debris removal and structural repairs. With mostly Amish and Mennonite volunteers, entire families came to Abaco to help with the rebuilding process.
Water Mission has continuously worked since Dorian to provide clean drinking water to the entire island of Abaco.
Samaritan’s Purse set up a long-term program and a long-term presence in Abaco. In their time in Abaco they have not only offered relief, but have supplied jobs for the locals. The SP team has worked hard to remove debris, muck and gut houses, and provide roofing. They have also offered church and home repair programs, trauma healing support groups, and partnered with other nonprofit organizations to provide for the locals.
All Hands and Hearts quickly entered the scene with efforts to help rebuild Abaco. With an emphasis on schools, All Hands and Hearts greatly contributed to the rebuilding of Every Child Counts, St. Frances De Sales, Little Darlings, and Central Abaco Primary. They also continue to work in the community with other projects, such as debris removal, mucking and gutting, roof repairs, and more.
Within just a few days of the storm, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) made it to Abaco. They provided the community with relief ranging from rebuilding programs and grants to psychosocial support for those affected.
UNICEF arrived in Abaco within a few days and began offering assistance to the Abaco children and their families by registering approximately 10,000 displaced children in safe schools. They also provided drinking water and sanitation to the people of Abaco.
World Food Program came into Abaco with efforts to increase health through foods. After weeks of assessments and partnering with several other organizations, mainly Samaritan’s Purse, WFP gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grocery vouchers to the locals.
Abaco Freight (a freight service based out of West Palm Beach, Florida) quickly stepped up in donating supplies, raising funds, and shipping essentials to those in Abaco.
The Red Cross offered hundreds of debit cards to the locals to aid in the rebuilding of their homes and lives.
BAARK Bahamas, along with many other animal shelters, worked tirelessly to rescue the abandoned and hurt animals on the island.
Bahamian Life, a Bahamian clothing business, produced a limited edition Abaco Strong t-shirt and offered 100% the proceeds to help to rebuild Abaco.
Heart to Heart International was one of the first medical teams to respond in Abaco. The Ministry of Health quickly asked them to continue their work. Their mission is to fill the gap in medical care that the storm has caused, and they have offered healthcare to hundreds of people in Abaco.
IDEA Relief is a marine-based emergency relief group that was birthed because of Hurricane Dorian. They immediately began working hard to help evacuate over 600 people after the storm. But their work didn’t stop there. They also offered medical assistance, search and rescue transport, and logistical transport. They were also responsible for delivering food and supplies to the outer cays.
Lille Renee Foundation is headed out of Nassau, Bahamas. They have been responsible for collecting donations, handing out supplies, and offering support with rebuilding.
The Head Knowles Foundation is a Bahamian relief agency. They offered help and relief in many forms, including raising more than $1 million for Abaco.
Abaco Big Bird is a chicken farm located in Central Abaco. Even though Dorian destroyed most of the their farm, the company immediately assisted Abaco by giving away 15,000 pounds of chicken, 6,000 pounds of ice daily, and hundreds of gallons of water. They set up a distribution point, supplied the community with donations, offered fresh produce, and plugged and changed hundreds of tires that were punctured from the debris.
While any list we can try to compile will always be incomplete because there were so many who helped Abaco, some of whom came to Abaco’s rescue included: Isle Go, Campus Crusade, HIM, Key West Cares, Missionary Flights, Kings Wings, Men and Women of Action, RIO Central, ADRA, Global Empowerment Mission, Mission Resolve Foundation, Open World Relief, Rotary District 7020, SOL Relief, Stuart Sailfish Club, Global United Disaster Relief, Living Vine International Ministries, Air Missions, DART, Open World, Shipwreck Park, Sands Harbour, Love Abaco, Gifting Smiles, The Homeless Period Project, One Eleuthra, Mission Revolve, Abaco Connect, Crossroads Alliance, The Boss Project, Florida FLSAR, Fuel Missions, Operation 300, GEM, Treasure Cay Community Foundation, Capacity Path, Operation Pelican, The Buchanan Family Foundation, Coast Guard, Medic Corps, Mission of Hope, World Hope International, Dutch Marines, British Marines, Jamaican Marines, Spanish Wells Boaters, IOM, GAIN, Right Side Up Ministries, Coastal Hope, Team Ghosts, Allegiant Airlines, Men of Faith, Church of the Glades, Church from Key West, Sunrise Community, Oasis Church, Riverbend Community Church, New Providence Community Church, YWAM, Hope Town United, Florida Crash and Rescue, Assemblies of God, Telecoms Sans Frontiers, Net Hope, Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, The Goodness Tour, IFAW, Compassion Kind, The Ebenezer Foundation, Abaco Rescue Fund, 25United, Crossroads Alliance, Freedom to Read.
If anyone was left out of this list, it was not done on purpose. This just proves how many people came to the rescue for Abaco.
We can never say thank you enough to each and every person and organization that helped Abaco during the rebuilding process!
Locals Stepped Up
Many members of the community immediately stepped up to help their island.
It would be impossible to compile a complete list of their names, but we owe so much to the people who worked endlessly to help support and provide for their community.
Some chose not to evacuate, but to stay in order to provide the support and help that their community needed. Some continued to help even while evacuated. And others came back shortly to help with the rebuilding process.
Distribution Centers were set up and worked by many locals for months after the storm, providing the essentials.
The people of Abaco have shown they will do whatever it takes to get Abaco back to its former glory!
As with most major storms, communications were down throughout the island.
But Bahamas Telecommunications Company and Aliv worked tirelessly to get the cell towers back up and running.
Landlines are continuing to be reconnected throughout the island.
Electricity was also lost on the entire island, with the main power station enduring extensive damage.
Within days of the storm, Bahamas Power and Light had teams on the ground working endlessly to reconnect Abaco to the electricity grid.
With new generators and pole and line repair, South Abaco was reconnected within a few short weeks.
Shortly after, BPL worked to reconnect North Abaco.
Individual generators were installed on the cays in order to reconnect power to most of their homes and businesses.
With most of the damage within Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay, it was not an easy task to rebuild the grid. New poles had to be installed throughout the island and the power lines had to be rerun. It was a long and grueling task, but they did it!
Even with the hiccups and additional inspections that were needed, the teams worked endlessly, day after day, to get electricity back to the island.
Resilience of Abaco
We have always known that the people of Abaco are strong, but through this tragedy, we have truly seen the resilience of Abaco.
Within weeks of Dorian, the colors of blue and green could be seen all around: the blue of the tarps on the roofs, and the green of the trees growing back. Abaco was ready to stand back up on its feet again.
Hurricane Dorian left Marsh Harbour, the hub of Abaco, without any viable business. But that did not last for long.
Within weeks, Abaco was equipped with gas stations, stores, churches, take-outs, and more.
And within a few short months, there were functional grocery stores, pharmacies, hardwares, banks, schools, and more.
Abaco is coming back!
Homes and businesses all over the island are rebuilding. And even though the effects of Covid-19 may have slowed the process a little, Abaco will not give up!
Houses are being mended daily. Plazas are being built, rebuilt, and renovated. Buildings are being repaired. Around every corner is a sign of Abaco’s resilience.
Every week there are businesses reopening their doors to the community. There are even brand new businesses being opened. And almost two years after Hurricane Dorian, Abaco has almost every essential need.
There is so much more in store for Abaco, and the people will stop at nothing to bring it back fully.
Colours of Hope
Throughout the island, you can see beautiful murals painted on buildings.
These murals were designed and painted by Benjamin Swatez and The Goodness Tour team.
The Goodness Tour is a nonprofit organization that travels the globe using art and music to bring hope to people facing adversity.
Within a few weeks of the storm, Benjamin and his team landed on the island with the mission of bringing hope and joy to our people.
Each mural depicts the strength and resilience of the people of Abaco, despite the horrible circumstances we have faced.
And each beautiful creation is a reminder to all that no matter what we may face we can still rise up strong!
Abaco is welcoming visitors and tourists!
Our beaches and waters are just as beautiful as ever. Many marinas are in the process of rebuilding. Resorts are open and waiting for you. Restaurants are reopening.
All over the island we have almost every essential you will need. With grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, liquor stores, doctor’s offices, boat and car rentals, ferries, and more.
Abaco is coming back, and it will be better than ever!