NINETY SIX — As Hurricane Dorian crashed onto the island she called home for 18 years, Cynthia Christie felt a sense of profound loss.
“It’s pretty emotional, it’s pretty emotional. I almost felt, after it had came and gone, like a survivor’s guilt type thing, because we were there and I can feel the connection,” Christie said of the storm’s impact on the Bahamas. “We’ve been there for some of the storms, the amount of water that came in, people have to be rescued, I feel bad.”
Christie moved to Ninety Six two years ago and found a town that not only embraced her family, but one they wanted to immerse themselves in as well. That’s why her sons, 7-year-old Kamryn and Kamari, 12, joined Cub Scout Pack 96.
Together, the troop was able to fill three trailers with toiletries, clothing, non-perishable food, toys and other essentials that will be shipped to the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean nation and disbursed among residents there.
In its wake, Hurricane Dorian left 1.5 billion pounds of debris and is blamed for 51 deaths, with another 1,300 missing in the Bahamas. Total losses are pegged at about $7 billion.
Christie said she’s able to keep up with friends and relatives back home through social media, though cellphone reception is spotty.
“Abaco and Freeport, most parts of it are wiped out. It’s pretty devastating,” Christie said. “The cost of rebuilding is going to be astronomical.”
Christie’s husband, a Bahamian national, flew back to South Carolina on Sunday. It was their first face-to-face meeting in two months.
Facing the prospect of another long power outage and failed infrastructure, Christie said she has mixed emotions about being so far from her adopted home during its time of crisis.
“The basic necessity things I am used to? No for that. Yes, to be on the ground helping with the community and families,” she said.
Christie said the outpouring of support from area businesses and residents that donated to the cause humbled her.
“Oh, it’s great. They have been supportive, even when we just moved here. Everybody’s helping out,” she said.
Scout Master Debbie Turner said the pack takes on service projects often, but this one held particular meaning for them, as Kamryn and Kamari’s own family members could be the ones benefiting from the charity.
“We teach them, ‘Do stuff out of the goodness of your heart,’ not expecting, ‘Do I get a badge, or what’s in it for me,’” she said. “Do it because people are hurting, and you’re going to feel better helping them, and then you’re going to get a blessing out of helping them.”