Once the weather settled, we pointed the bow south to Dominica, not really knowing what to expect on the island after Maria unleashed her wrath and devastation. As we rounded the corner into Prince Rupert Bay I called Providence, our “boat boy” to ask if he could help us settle in. Martin welcomed us back to the island and said he would be waiting when we arrived.
Joy and I had decided that rather than anchor, we would take a mooring from Martin to put just that little bit of money into the economy of a country that sorely needed all the help it could obtain. We talked with Martin for quite a while about all that had happened since we last saw him. He told us that his mother always said to him “Martin, if there is life, there is Hope”, and our hearts went out to a land broken, but slowly healing. We gave Martin a number of items to help his family and friends, and offered to help in any way we could.
Bill and Cathy (Dream Maker) are huge supporters of Dominica, and before leaving their home in Canada, they had collected funds from caring friends to aid the island. While in Guadeloupe, Bill and Cathy used those funds to shop for food, building tools, nails, screws, anything that might help the island, and they transported those items on their boat from Guadeloupe to Dominica. I’d helped them haul stuff from store to car to boat, and was glad to do all I could.
One morning on the Cruiser’s Net, we learned of another boat, Macario Advantage, whose owners, Clare and Magoe had been organizing relief efforts for Dominica. We discovered they were gathering cruisers to help paint the Roosevelt Primary School, a school which had served as shelter for some 300 locals who lost their homes to Cat 5 Hurricane Maria. I offered to paint with them, and we gathered one morning to paint the walls of the outdoor recreation area. The project took a good part of the day, and when we finished, we left with a deep sense of accomplishment and good will. Our simple effort was deeply appreciated.
Clare and Magoe operate a charity to help impoverished islanders, and as the season wore on, we got to know this couple better. Their relief efforts never cease, and the next project they championed was a drive to raise money for one Dominican family who lost both their home and their small restaurant business, the sole source of income for the family. Clare told me that prior to Maria’s devastation, this island couple had always been willing to come to the aid of cruisers who might be in need of one thing or another. It wasn’t much of a stretch to step up to the plate, make a contribution, and help Macario raise enough cash for the couple to complete the foundation of their home.