Meet Romain Charlot, a father in Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas. He’s been trying to rebuild his home—his life—for nearly a year. Today, along with other residents of the Bahamas, he braces for the 2020 hurricane season. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him and witnessing his journey since Hurricane Dorian ravaged the islands in September 2019.
Charting the steps he’s taken toward recovery, I’ve seen the strength and resolve that only a father providing for a family, rebuilding from a deadly storm, and navigating a pandemic can have. I hope his story reminds you that while natural disasters cycle in and out of the news, families, and communities must continue to piece back their lives. Often, they must do so with limited resources.
Romain has had a chance at post-disaster recovery—thanks to prayers and gifts from friends like you. But today, he braces for the possibility of yet another storm that could upend what he has reconstructed thus far.
11 Months of Recovery and Reconstruction
September 1, 2019: During the hurricane
Romain Charlot and his family were in their home when Hurricane Dorian hit. He recalls, “The wind howled like a monster on top of the house.”
During the storm, water poured in through a gaping hole in the roof. Romain’s wife, Edna, protected four children by placing them under a bathroom sink, while Romain shielded his mother-in-law from falling debris. Edna sang songs to ease their fears as the wind and rain raged on. By the grace of God, they survived.
September to December 2019: Immediately after the hurricane
The home that Romain built by hand was destroyed. The community was reeling. And the storm wiped out water systems, making safe water was scarce. He relocated his family to Nassau while he worked to rebuild the house in Green Turtle Cay.
Water Mission was able to provide him with temporary employment during this time, making him a part of the disaster response team that provided safe water to thousands of people.
January 2020: Early stages of recovery
Since the hurricane hit, Water Mission has provided over 1 million gallons of safe water to more than 14,000 people in the Bahamas. Because of the continued availability of safe water on the island, Romain and his family don’t worry about having enough water for all their needs. They can focus on rebuilding.
Romain and Edna are both back at work, their community is healing, and safe water is accessible. Romain travels between two islands for work, and his family lives in a trailer next to a government building while he reconstructs their home.
With safe water, his children can focus on finishing off the school year and beginning a new one. Safe water, as Romain had said when we first met him, is an essential resource throughout reconstruction.
March 2020: Amid the new threat of COVID-19
Months after Dorian, much remains to be done on their house. Romain and Edna spend their days off on repairs, putting up walls, and replacing the roof that was torn off by the storm. But with public health restrictions interrupting supply chains and activity, Romain said, “Recovery has been good but slower than usual because of COVID-19.”
Their kids are back at school but are learning online due to the pandemic. While online school is not preferable, Romain is grateful that the kids can have an education amid constant change. Like the availability of safe water, school gives them a sense of normalcy.
July and August 2020: Bracing for a busy hurricane season
In July, Romain sends me a text message: Good morning! How are you doing? I am fine. We are fine. I would like to say thank you for your prayers. Thank you!
He also sends me photos of the house, including ones of the ceiling and roof that were torn off by the storm. I congratulate him and tell him that I am so thankful for God’s provision in his life. I text back: The house looks really good!
Today, I am praying for Romain and all of the Bahamas as we approach the one-year mark of Hurricane Dorian making landfall. Weather scientists have predicted a busy and severe hurricane season. Romain says that like most people in the Bahamas, he is fearful about this forecast and what an impending storm entails. He said, “There are no shelters here and many homes are still covered with tarp.”
He and Edna have finished repairs, and I am praying for their home—that God would continue to protect it and the people within it, and that He would remain as their foundation and shield from every storm.
With solar-powered solutions, Water Mission continues to meet long-term needs in the Bahamas. Our long-term response assists communities immediately after a natural disaster and throughout reconstruction, equipping them with sustainable and strong infrastructures that can withstand future emergencies.
Thousands like Romain brace for the possibility of another natural disaster during the 2020 hurricane season. With your prayers and support, we can ensure that through overlapping crises, safe water continually flows for families like Romain and Edna’s. With Water Mission best-in-class solutions in place, people in under-resourced communities can have one less thing to worry about in the face of successive emergencies.
Join us as we meet immediate and long-term needs around the world.