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    September 21

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Prayers kept me safe, says Bajan

Anmar Goodridge-Boyce, anmargoodridge-boyce@nationnews.com

Added 11 September 2019

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Bajan Karen Dyall, a former teacher at Ellerslie School, was in Freeport, Grand Bahama when Hurricane Dorian ravaged her community. (GP)

At least one Barbadian living in The Bahamas who was reported on social media as missing, is alive and well today.

But day by day, she continues to struggle with the sight of massive destruction and loss of lives caused by the passage of Hurricane Dorian.

Karen Dyall, a former teacher at Ellerslie School, was in Freeport, Grand Bahama, when heavy rainfall and gusty winds from the catastrophic hurricane ravaged community more than a week ago.

With memories of Hurricane Matthew, which smashed the island in 2016, fresh in her mind, Dyall prepared for the worst but prayed for the best.

“When I first got the confirmation that the hurricane was coming here, I began to panic because I experienced Matthew a couple years prior and it was pretty bad for me. I never experienced anything like that in Barbados. Some of my ex-students and family members could not reach me and reported me missing. I had no internet,” she told THE NATION.

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 The 47-year-old senior educator at the Bishop Michael Eldon Anglican Church School recounted her experience.

“It was three days of anxiety, fear, and terror, at some point. With Dorian . . . it wasn’t until the Friday and Saturday that it really hit me. The information started coming in from Abaco which is to the east of us. It was at that point, I knew it was going to be bad. I don’t think I can find a word to describe my exact emotion. I packed up and went by a friend and her husband’s home,” she said.

“Where I stayed was flooded completely. I don’t know if it was the prayers from my family members who are devoted Christians, but the house I stayed in, the water came from the west, east and south and stopped within ten feet of the house, in every direction and it did not reach me. I have no way of explaining how we were that lucky,” she said.

“The only way I made it through was because of my friends, and my family; I owe them a lot. Although they were far from me, they really helped to keep me going. I don’t even know how I will repay them but at least I am here to tell them I love them.”

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This street sign is a remainder of the community in which Karen Dyall lived. (GP)

An emotional Dyall, who teaches bookkeeping and accounts, said the most heartbreaking part in the ordeal was learning that one of her students perished in the flood waters.

“The part that broke my heart is one of my kids’ entire family was washed out to sea; only the mum survived. He died. He was such a loving child.

“The flood waters my co-workers had to go through, confronted with that, I’m not sure I would have been here today. In the middle of the night you could not see – there were fallen wires and trees. There were so many variables. I’m thankful to be here. So many people around me have lost so much,” she added. (AGB)

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