LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s been almost two weeks since Dorian hit the Bahamas with hundreds still missing and even more without food or shelter.
“We have a saying: When one Bahamian hurts, all Bahamians hurt.” Rashida Hall-Franklin said. She lives in the Lake Area, but to her, the Bahamas will always be home.
After high school, she moved to the United States but says many friends and family still live on the islands. After living in the Bahamas and now living in Louisiana, Hill-Franklin says she has always watched the weather during hurricane season for both areas. So as Dorian first began to form, she messaged her loved ones telling them to be safe. On September 1, Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 Hurricane, the strongest storm to make landfall there in over 80 years.
“The anxiety," Hall-Franklin said." The anxiousness really. I was just extremely worried. I think I went through so many emotions. I think for the first two days I barely slept I was glued to the TV that much. I was so concerned for family members and friends and my home. Not so much the house home, but that’s still my home.”
She says she didn’t hear from her loved ones for a while after the storm hit the islands.
“I’ve never been through this before,” Hill-Franklin said. “Going through Rita, I understand that side of it, but not this side of this.”
She says when she first heard from friends and family on the island it was overwhelming. She says she had been at a praise team practice at church and as she headed home, she saw people began to provide updates on social media.
“I began to see people saying ‘Hi, I’m checking in, letting you know we are OK’ and I walked out to my car and I didn’t realize how much it had impacted me emotionally and I fell to the ground and I just began to thank God," Hall-Franklin said. "I just began to weep, I began to cry it was just amazing the emotions, I didn’t realize how much emotions I had until that time and how much it touched me at that particular time and even now I still get a little emotional about it.”
And while the road to recovery will be a long one, she says there is one thing she wants people to know about Bahamians: they will get through this.
“They are resilient, strong people," Hall-Franklin said. "Strong in faith, strong people. So I am very proud. I am proud of my hometown, proud of my nation.”
The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency has published a page with instructions for anyone wanting to help. Hill-Franklin’s church. United Christian Fellowship, is currently speaking with other organizations about accepting donations soon to take to the Bahamas.