MESSAGE FROM OUR SCHOOL CHAPLAIN CHARLOTTE MALTÉS
This past month, I had the opportunity of going to Nassau, the capital Island of The Bahamas, and we were able to visit two refuges. Around two thousand people living in a big gym-like communal area. The majority of them coming from Abaco, one of the two Bahamian islands most affected by hurricane Dorian. People of all ages call this temporary and very public space home. There is no plan, there is no future. Hope hangs by a thread. We went there with a pastor/counselor from one of the local churches and an artist from Nigeria who recently relocated to the island and works with the pastor teaching art and using it as a vehicle to help others deal with trauma.
We set a camp outside, took out the art materials and other goods collected by our Robinson community. Many kids and adults started approaching. Curiosity and expectation interrupted the hopelessness, even if for a brief moment. We talked to them about how they were important and not forgotten. And how in the midst of their circumstances, God loves them and wants to give them hope and a future. We painted with the kids, played with them, listened to them, hugged them… We loved them.
A big thank you to 1st grader Victoria Alum for organizing a Lemonade Fundraiser to buy art materials!
We also had the chance to visit the Ranfurly Home for Children. Originally housing 20 kids, some orphans and some removed from their homes due to violence or inappropriate living conditions. Their numbers doubled overnight because of the hurricane.
Lastly, we met with another community leader and handed him water filters so people in the area could have access to clean drinking water.
The truth is things did not go as we thought they would. The original plans in some ways fell through because of recent government moves and decisions regarding the handling and restrictions of donations, as well as contact with refugees. Nevertheless, God still had an agenda for us there! We met good, honest people filled with God’s love, being His hands and feet. People who are trying to the best of their abilities to rebuild their country and bring love and hope to the hopeless, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. (Psalm 146:9)
The rebuilding process is going very slow. Because they know there are still bodies under all the rubble, they do not want to desecrate the space by bulldozing recklessly through the area. The access to the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama is very limited and restricted. The logistics with taking donations and making sure it is properly and justly handled and distributed requires a great deal of discernment, astuteness and even hustle. The needs are many and vary widely from one place to the other.
Our goal is to continue to build on this relationship with the local leaders in hopes of being more intentional, efficient and effective with our involvement and help. We encourage you to stay connected to learn more about additional efforts the Robinson community will be involved in.
May God help us love like he loves, to have mercy, seek justice and walk humbly before him (Micah 6:8). Wherever we go.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’