I recently traveled to Dominica as part of my work on Lutheran World Relief’s emergency operations team to see this recovery in action. Walking down a steep path off a mountain road in the town of Salisbury, about a 30-minute drive from the capital of Roseau, I found Ferny James, 35, and Lina Nicholas, 52, who had both completed the training and were hard at work erecting wooden beams for the wall of a new house.
“I feel a strong sense of pride rebuilding my country,” Ferny tells me with a smile on her face. “Everyone has played their part. If it wasn’t for all of us working together, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Prior to Hurricane Maria, Ferny was working at a local TV station, but lost her job shortly after. Many local businesses have gone under since the hurricane and have not been able to bounce back. The one industry that is thriving is the construction sector, with rebuilding work to be done all over the island. Ferny and many young people like her are trying to seize the opportunity use their newfound skills to rebuild their country.
“We know rebuilding will take a while. I am confident I’ll be able to find work in construction,” she says. “It’s a change for me, but I love working with my hands, so I am happy being a part of this.”