Hurricane Maria stripped Vanessa of all she had worked for; her home, her income and her art. The only thing it didn’t take was her life or her children’s – however her survival story reveals that even these were on the brink of loss. Using electrical wire, her and her daughter tied their wrists to the door of their collapsing home to prevent their family from being sucked out into the monstrous abyss of the category 5 ‘demon’. The screaming sounds of the catastrophic winds tore out their home above their very heads, whilst they sheltered through the night barricaded under the stairwell drenched in flooded water. The next day, she braved the destructed ruins of the capital Roseau, alone, in order to desperately get her children clean drinking water. On climbing the debris, she stepped down on a nail that went straight through her foot. She did not stop, and continued to get the water- she later had no choice but to treat herself with only a first aid kit. In her own words, the pain was the least of her problems. Vanessa knew immediately that she’d need to salvage as much as she possibly could of her life’s works – her tools would be financially irreplaceable, and her crafts that sat drowned in the flood water could still have a chance of sale if she was just able to save them. The harrowing thought dawned on her that as a single mother and with her income destroyed, she could not safely care for her children in the aftermath. Vanessa made the gut-wrenching decision to send her children abroad to Barbados for safety, and battle the aftermath alone. Her children only returned to her in July 2018, 10 months later. Unfortunately, they have returned to no home.
Vanessa, almost a year later, has received no help in rebuilding her house.
As a skilled and recognised crafts woman, who does valuable work for the arts in Dominica through social cause, she hoped she might receive some assistance - especially being a single mother to four children. Despite her efforts, and despite publicity through her achievements with her craft such as attending the the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange in Buckingham Palace , she has had no support in her cause.
Therefore, we are bringing the cause to the larger world; we are calling on you to help us take action and put her and her children back in a safe house again - their haunting survival story of the storm was enough worry and trauma for one lifetime, yet now they face the daily turmoil of the unknown and insecure.
Links for publicized reading on Vanessa:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3kEY2MN4JA (video of Vanessa explaining gender struggles for single women in business)
Vanessa, having been stripped of an income, has been supported through the Piton Foundation (via Lifeline Ministries) in her children's safe evacuation passages to Barbados and back, and supported living costs post disaster.