Perhaps the hardest part for Dominican students pursuing their education at the University of the West Indies (UWI)Cave Hill Campus at this time, is the fact that they have to leave their love ones behind to rebuild without knowing for sure everything will be okay.
Just over 100 Dominicans are said to be enrolled at the Cave Hill Campus pursing studies in a range of disciplines. They are all members of the Dominica Student Association of Cave Hill Campus (DOMSAC).
However, with a week already into the new school term not all are able to make it back in time for their studies here, and for some of those who are already here they are not quite settled yet.
Caren Casimir, who hails from the south of Dominica, is the vice president of DOMSAC. She told Barbados TODAY that while she was not directly affected by Tropical Storm Erika, the road to her home was destroyed, forcing those wishing to journey to the capital to walk.
The president of the association is still in Dominica assisting the Red Cross. She is expected to begin her studies next week.
To get to Barbados in time for studies, Casimir had to walk about nine miles from her home to Roseau, then take a ferry to Guadeloupe. She then took a flight from that country into Barbados.
Casimir, who said her five siblings were doing well, told Barbados TODAY she had not yet heard from many of the students, therefore she was unable to confirm how many had already made it here.
She said the day before Erika drenched the island was a normal one for her. However, having gone to bed on Wednesday night with “no big concern”, she was awakened the following morning to a flooded yard and devastation across the country.
Casimir is studying Microbiology and Ecology.
Another student, Ourelle Joseph, who is majoring in accounting and finance, has been in Barbados since August 1, 2015 but was scheduled to return home for some school supplies.
Joseph, who lost some relatives, told Barbados TODAY she would return home tomorrow then travel back here in about a week.
“I have to take connecting flights but I will be going back down. I must. I have the ticket,” she said.
“I loss three of my relatives during the devastation, and my grandmother had a stroke. It is her relatives. So I am not sure how exactly she is coping. I am going to check on her when I get there. My other relatives are overseas,” she said.
Joseph said she had been through “quite a few devastations and incidents” in her life and she believed she would still be able to focus on her studies.
Nadira Lando-Ghonim is a former Miss Dominica and former Jaycees Queen, and is a final year law student.
Lando-Ghonim, who resides in Antigua, told Barbados TODAY she was planning to visit her mother who is a nurse in Dominica, and spend a week with her before returning to Barbados for her studies. However, here plans were dashed by Tropical Storm Erika.
“It is just so sad right now because school there is postponed until further notice. People there are now homeless . . . it is just horrible,” she lamented, but pointed out her family was safe.
Lando-Ghonim said she only discovered “all the devastating pictures” when she logged onto Facebook on August 27, and she became terrified because of her concern about her grandparents who live “down a hill”. She has since found out that they are doing okay. But she is yet to hear from other family members who live in a different part of the country.
Lando-Ghonim arrived here on Wednesday. She said her mind “is affected” and she was “constantly thinking about friends and people who are affected and how I can help in any way”.