Petrona Joseph is trying to keep her mind occupied more than usual these days.
“Right now, the only thing I can do is keep myself busy,” she says.
Two weeks ago her big sister came to visit her in Montreal. They had a lot, a lot, of catching up to do because, they hadn’t seen each other, for years.
“Actually in 33 years,” she explains. “So when my mom passed away we were all separated in Trinidad and my sister was brought to Dominica. “Throughout all the years we weren’t able to find each other.”
“But the re- union was short-lived.”
Hurricane Irma was lashing the Caribbean at the time and her sister and husband, both physicians, were needed in Dominica in case of emergencies.
Luckily the storm missed the island, but then on Monday, hurricane Maria struck, and there was no escape. She reached her sister at the height of the storm.
“Around nine she said our roof has blown off. “I was like, what the hell is going on?”
At eleven, her sister texted to say they were hiding in the bathroom, and that they couldn’t leave because the winds were too high.
That was the last she heard from her sister, Doctor Portia Meade.
“I don’t want to think about concern. “I just want to keep positive,” she says. “I don’t want to put anything negative out there.”
Hurricane Maria trashed Dominica as a category five storm leaving, so far, more than a dozen dead and twenty missing.
According to Roosvelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister, “every village in Dominica, every street, every cranny, every person in Dominica, was impacted by the hurricane.”
Ninety per cent of buildings have been damaged or destroyed, on the island nation of just over 73 thousand.
The Dominica Island Cultural Association of Montreal is now planning to send help because everything is needed, according to Phillip Gabriel, President.
“Nails, screws, bandages, hospital stuff, things for the baby. “We’ll try everything and see what we get.”
They’ll set up a collection point as soon as they find a space, get enough donations and find a way to ship the supplies down.
Joseph is doing what she can too, until she gets news from her family. She’s trying to get people to donate tarpaulins to be sent to the island and has set up drop-off point in Little Italy. She has also set up a Go Fund Me page to raise cash. https://www.gofundme.com/helpfordominica
She’s tries daily to reach her sister, fearing the worse, but hoping for good news.
She smiles. “Knowing my sister she’s probably knee deep helping her patients but, I’m just messaging family members, you know? “In case they have any luck.