Challengers After a
By Barrington H. Brennen, September 29, 2019
a disaster like Hurricane Dorian, there are a myriad of
challenges that show up. Some of these challenges are
unavoidable and others are avoidable. Some of these are
logistical and others are emotional. Truthfully, many did
not expect such a disaster. The many who survived the
hurricane disasters in 1926, 1929, and 1932 or similar
disasters of those decades, when communities were whipped
out, are dead, leaving their descendants ignorant of the
past. Without Wikipedia, historical records, and books, we
would have no idea what took place. But have we learned
from the past?
difference the hurricanes in 1926, 1929, and 1932 has
compared to Hurricane Dorian, is the scale and scope of the
damage. The population today is larger and the
infrastructure greater and more advanced. In 1929 there
were no telephone lines in each home, hundreds of light
poles, cellular and radio towers, radio antennae, satellite
dishes, surveillance cameras, air-condition houses and
hotels, air-condition automobiles, sophisticated airports
with conveyer belts and lighted runways. I can go on and
on. In fact, there were no significant medical facilities.
Not having these amenities may have made recovery simpler
infrastructure is more complicated and sophisticated,
although much needed. I lived in Crooked Island with my
wife and two children in the early 1980s. During that time
there was no government electricity. Most had generators
and some had windmills. In those days, Bahamasair, like
today, only flew to those islands twice a week and the mail
boot about twice a month. There were no telephones in our
homes, no televisions or satellite dishes. There were no
Internet or cell phones.
while living on Crooked island, a cluster of events took
place. The mail boat was on dry dock for three months, the
nurse was sick in Nassau. The doctor, who resided on another
nearby island, was on vacation abroad. Hence, when
Bahamasairís last fight left for the week, we prayed that
there will be no disaster. It was emotionally challenging
for many, especially those of us who did not grow up on the
island. If one would sit and think about what to do if
there is serious illness or disaster, one would panic. One
could easily experience fear or helplessness. Hence,
imagine what the thousands of residents who were actually
impacted by the hurricane, are experiencing today. Many of
them are experiencing helplessness, hopelessness, fear,
frustration, anxiety, stress, doubt, etc.
myriad of stories we are hearing over social media and even
reading the news papers, about the frustration of many
people who were impacted by Hurricane Dorian. It is
imperative to understand that one personís frustration is
that personís reality. Another personís perspective might
be different creating a different frustration. After a
disaster like the one just past, our duty is to respect the
rights of people to be frustrated and not to argue if oneís
frustration is right or wrong. Thatís frustrating. Yes,
those who are frustrated are to seek to be patient and learn
that restoration often takes a long while.
there is the best of care and good logistical planning,
someone usually gets left out. Thatís painfully
frustrating. Our nation today is being tested by the
multiple expressions of fear, disbelief, suspicion, anger,
anxiety, short temper, moodiness and irritability. Please
remember that these are natural responses after a disaster.
I say we are being tested because these responses can either
make us or break us as a nation. Let us see this time as
an opportunity to unify us and bring out a compassionate
spirit that intertwines us into a beautiful woven carpet of
peace and prosperity.
do know that another response to a national disaster is that
of domestic violence. Research tells us that after such a
disaster, intimate partner abuse and child abuse escalates.
This is due to the frustration and sometimes the unusual
living arrangements of families. Interestingly, research
also tells us, that pregnancy increases after a disaster.
Nine or ten months after a disaster, the population will go
up more than usual. People have nowhere to go, so they
spend more time at home. Some of these pregnancies can be
wanted and other unwanted, creating more frustration.
challenge after a disaster is that of creating harmony in
households where there are unexpected residents. Many kind
families have taken into their homes, other family member or
friends, whose residents have been severely damaged or
lost. Some are trying how to balance between being kind
and generous with maintaining the traditions and practices
of the home.
Unfortunately, some family members can be disrespectful,
selfish and uncaring. They have little respect and lack of
understanding that the gift of caring is not a license to do
what they want to do.
As soon as
possible the homeowners should have a friendly chat with the
temporary residents. Talk with them about your household
standards and practices. If you do not want smoking in your
residents, inform them. Guidelines about household duties
expectations, sleep times, and curfews, can all be
discussed. Make sure you are firm, respectful and kind.
You might also need to make a little adjustment in your home
for a short while
Barrington Brennen is a counseling
psychologist and marriage and family therapist. Send your
questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or
call 242-327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org