HER Stories

After the Storm: Two Hurricane Dorian Survivors Share Their Stories

One year ago, September 1, 2019, tragedy and devastation struck when Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane (some would even say Category 6) made landfall in the northern islands of The Bahamas, mainly Abaco and Grand Bahama. When Dorian struck, it lingered over the beautiful islands of The Bahamas for what seemed like forever (at one point moving at 2 mph), taking aim at everything in its path. After the hurricane passed, death, heartache and tragedy became synonymous with the word Dorian for Bahamians.

As survivors are left to pick up the pieces of their lives, the trauma left by Hurricane Dorian still remains prominent today. Just last month, Tropical Storm Isaias threatened to rummage through the islands of The Bahamas, as it quickly upgraded to a hurricane. While Isaias did not leave much damage, Bahamians couldn’t help but to panic in preparation for Isaias to make landfall. PTSD kicked in for Hurricane Dorian survivors, as they prayed to God not to relive the horrid experience of another devastating hurricane.

A lot has changed for the survivors in the year that has passed, from having to live without loved ones to having to relocate. Nothing can replace what was lost but still, hope remains.

Two survivors of the monster storm took the time to share their story with us.



Precious is an educator who was teaching in Abaco at Patrick J. Bethel High School before Hurricane Dorian struck. Precious is very active in her community. While in Abaco, she served as an Advisor for the Abaco Youth Empowerment Program and she was a member of her local Toastmasters Club.


Precious: “At first, everyone was rushing about to complete last minute preparations; the shops were crowded, the water depots were sold out and some left the island. We were filled with anxiety but no one could have been prepared for what was to come. I was quite calm in the beginning, as I was supposedly fully prepared and was staying with my fiance’s family, so I was around persons for the experience.”


Precious: “As the winds picked up, I started to become alarmed. Having just found out that I was pregnant a week before, I was quite afraid for my unborn child. I heard debris flying around outside. The walls started to crack, the roof caved in and water filled the house. All we could have done was pray and cry out to God for deliverance and safety. Thank God I had Aliv, so I was able to reach out to family who called a few good Samaritans to rescue us some 9 hours later.

It was easily the most terrifying experience of my life. We went to a shelter where EVERYONE was. Fear and worry was in the air. It was hot, smelly and clustered so I preferred to go back to the caved in roof until we were able to get off of the island.”


Precious: “The saddest thing for me was seeing all of the homes that were compromised and hearing of the lives that were lost, including my student, Jendaya Edgecombe and two young children that I knew. I also saw 5 dead bodies on the side of the street. Sighs.”


Precious: “Life has been extremely different since Hurricane Dorian passed. I had to start over from scratch. My fiance’ and I had to relocate as we lost our home and had to find an apartment and car to get from point A to point B. Also, being pregnant was extremely difficult.  My biggest difficulty due to Dorian was the fact that I was an asue holder. I have lost over $20,000 after having also lost my home due to persons not paying.

One positive thing that came after Dorian was my greatest blessing, a healthy, beautiful baby girl so I give God thanks.”

Precious baby
Precious’ beautiful baby girl, Kariea

After Hurricane Dorian, Precious was nominated for an award at the National Youth Awards.

Precious at the National Youth Awards 2019 Nomination Ceremony


Grand Bahama Survivor: Edwina Waldron


Edwina is a 26 year old Grand Bahama native who had just come back home from law school when Hurricane Dorian hit.


Edwina: “We were shocked when we found out the hurricane had upgraded to a Category 5 because we had just endured Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and our economy had still yet to recover. Grand Bahamians did their best to heed to evacuation protocols and preparing for the hurricane (grocery shopping, securing homes), because we had an idea of what we were up against and we prepared based on the last hurricane.”


Edwina:My family and I lived on the outskirts of the island, roughly 2 minutes away from the beach, and in close proximity to the Harbour and completely surrounded by water. We were told to evacuate because a surge was expected.

“We moved to higher ground in The Chesapeake  area with my uncle and aunt and her children and grand children. As you can imagine, the apartment was packed but we made the best of it in the circumstances. At first, it was all fun telling stories and cracking jokes, watching movies and just spending quality time with family. But it all suddenly changed when the power and water went off. Luckily, we had charged all of our devices and portable chargers, we filled buckets and countless jugs of water. We purchased a portable gas stove and gas cans prior so we were able to have cooked food.

“When the ordeal started, the winds were extremely strong and loud. There was a lot of rain and water settled everywhere. We lost signal on the radio and at one point we were unable to reach anyone. The area I was in began to flood, but luckily it was on a slope. When the water began to rise, the hurricane had already subsided. I was worried about the reports I got from my brother who was a part of the rescue/search team with regard to the amount of people that were in danger, drowned or missing. It definitely hit home when friends and relatives started to reach out for help and there was nothing I could do except call for help and pray that they got the help they needed.”


Edwina: “The saddest thing for me after the hurricane was driving around and seeing the damage that was done and the host of people that were missing or had passed away as a result of the hurricane. It was unbelievable. I have never experienced anything like that in my entire life, nor is it something I want to I re-live. As we were driving, we constantly had to the turn around or make different pathways because some areas were completely flooded. Just looking at the state of the island after nearly 3 years of repairing and gradual recovery traumatized me. I just thought, When will we ever get a break?.

“About  2/3 days after the storm, various organizations gathered to distribute food and clothes, household items and medical supplies to families that were in need. The lines were extremely long and discouraging at times due to having to stand hours to wait for assistance, but we all had no choice. The water was also off for some time so people fetched water from Polymers and used fresh drinking water to bathe, cook or for sanitary purposes. A lot of people did not have vehicles to get the assistance they needed or had signal to reach out for help, so my family and I did our best to drive around and assist families with water and groceries.”


Edwina: “The hurricane came about two weekends before I was about to embark on a new journey at Eugene Dupuch Law School in Nassau. As you could imagine there was absolutely no drive or motivation left in me after going through the hurricane. In fact, I opted to start in 2020 instead because I was not in the mental state to start Bar school which was already challenging coupled with mental and now financial instability but with the strength of God and encouragement from family members, I began my law school journey in Nassau.”

Edwina on her first day of Eugene Dupuch Law School

Edwina: “I was set to graduate three weeks after the Hurricane (October) with my Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Degree from the University of the West Indies in Barbados. As a result of the Hurricane, none of my family members were able to attend as planned. I felt as though I had no business celebrating my accomplishments in these circumstances, and again, I opted not to go. However, with the support of my family and friends I was encouraged to go alone and celebrate my achievements and I was grateful to still have the opportunity to graduate!”


Life is precious, make the most of it.

Never trivialize hurricanes, they are deadly.

Be your brother’s keeper.

There is power in prayer and UNITY!

Hurricane Dorian survivors continue to rebuild their lives. As Lyrically Blessed said, “We’ll be stronger, we’ll be better than ever before after the storm… We will rise again.”

Continue to keep Precious, Edwina and the other hurricane Dorian survivors in your prayers as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

What inspired you from these ladies’ stories? Let us know in the comments!

HER Stories

From Heartbreak to Salvation: Zemi’s Story

The below is an excerpt from Wife HER! founder Zemi Stewart’s book “Becoming HER”.

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

“I’m not ready to be in a relationship.”

Eight words (or nine if you split the contraction) broke my heart. My then boyfriend—let’s call him David—and I had been dating for four months. I know, I know. Four months is hardly any time at all, let alone time enough to end up heartbroken. But I was. Why? Well, to put it bluntly, I was a serial dater. I jumped from relationship to relationship and as I got closer to God and began examining myself, I realized this had to change. I didn’t want to be known as the girl who couldn’t stay in a relationship—I wanted this to work! So, I tried.

There were so many red flags: I caught him engaging in conversations with girls on a dating website, he would send private snaps to women he’d never met, he was semi-addicted to pornography and there were quite a few other indicators that this just wouldn’t work. But I loved him. He made me laugh, he was fun and…the sex was amazing! (P.S. We’re all grown-ups here right?) 

Looking back through the eyes of maturity (and self-worth), I should have left very early on in the relationship, but being with David gave me such a high. He would hug me while I slept—like lift me up towards him and just hold me tight. No one had ever held me like that before and, for whatever reason, it made me fall deeper in love. 

Who was I back then? Well, your first impressions are probably correct. I was immature. I lacked self-worth. I was naive. And yes, I lacked an actual relationship with Christ. But more than that: I was broken. I had lost my mother (and her amazing hugs) when I was 12 years old so those hugs from David seemed to fill a void that I didn’t even know I had. So much of me was broken back then. I was a year out of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship and I was just tired. I wanted to love strong. I wanted to stay. I wanted to commit. I wanted this relationship to be “it”. But just as soon as I could blink, it was over.

“I’m not ready to be in a relationship.”

So what did I do wrong? Well, for one, I didn’t trust him. Yes, it does appear that I had no reason to, but even before I identified those red flags, I didn’t trust him and it showed. I would search his phone and his email, stalk his social media, attempt to read messages over his shoulder. The works! I mean it’s totally embarrassing to even write this down, but that was me. I came to his job with my arguments, I would talk down to him and, essentially, I drove him away. 

I’m sure he loved me at some point. I’m sure he didn’t enter the relationship with intentions to be unfaithful (emotionally, even if he didn’t do anything physical—although I wouldn’t be surprised if he did), but that’s just the way it went. I made him feel like he couldn’t do anything right, so he pulled away and used whatever means he could to cope with the emasculation. 

And so, I got dumped. Then deep into depression I went. When I felt him pulling away I began reading my Bible earnestly: “Lord, if you let him stay I promise to spend more time with you.” I’m sure God just looked down at me and thought, “This girl can’t be serious” or some variation thereof. 

First of all, I walked into the relationship in total disobedience. God had been calling me to celibacy and I totally ignored Him. I made these stupid rules like “No sex on Sunday.” When I think about it I wish I could go back in time and wag my index finger in front of my 22-year-old face: “Really Zemi?! No sex on Sunday?! Whether you do it on Monday at 12 am or Sunday at noon, it’s still a sin!” Well there you have it—that was me.

I took the breakup so hard. I didn’t want to have to try again. I was tired of being mistreated or cheated on or let go. I was tired of feeling like I was worthless and worth less. I was just tired. I wasn’t fully healed from the abusive relationship I had left a year before and felt so empty and so broken. I know many will give me the side-eye, but I literally wanted to die. 

In the year leading up to this point, I had tried counselling and I thought I was okay, but so many wounds were left inside of me. I would have flashbacks of being kicked. I would remember exactly where I was and how I felt when I found out about my former boyfriend’s betrayal (he, let’s call him Nelly, cheated on me with one of his “friends” while I was home during summer break). And I felt crazy. Now, here I am trying to put my best foot forward to love again and I’m thrown away. It hurt. It really hurt. (Not to mention this was the second time I had heard those same eight/nine words “I’m not ready to be in a relationship.” – in a six month period! – I was a serial dater remember.)

At this point, things were very tight financially. I had to leave my last residence hurriedly and I didn’t even have a bed at my new apartment: just a small mattress my roommate had lent me. I’m only 5’5” and to fit my entire body onto the mattress I had to curl up in fetal position. So here’s the picture: 23-year-old me in fetal position, crying my eyes red while eating a bag full of Oreos. My skin broke out, I lost a lot of weight and I was knee-deep in depression. (If you’re wondering why I’m suddenly 23, it’s because David dumped me 4 days after my birthday. Yeah, no comment.)

I prayed so hard in that season for David to come back. I sent him so many apologies, but he wouldn’t even talk to me. That cut me so deeply because we had been such great friends and then, just like that, he was gone. 

One night, as I lay on my “bed” with my face streaked with tears, Justin Timberlake’s song “Mirror” started playing in my head.  It happened so randomly that I immediately googled (that’s a word now right?) the lyrics and played the song. Most people find this strange but I felt like those words were God speaking to me: “I don’t want to lose you now. I’m looking right at the other half of me.” At the time I thought God was saying that David was my soulmate and that he would be coming back as, in reality, Justin Timberlake wrote the song to his now wife while they were going through a breakup. Later on, I realized God was telling me that I was His mirror and that He didn’t want to lose me to the plans of the devil or to Satan himself. He was telling me that I was loved by Him and that I had a place in His heart. To this day I cry when I hear that song because it brought me to Christ. On that very night, on my tiny bed, I recommitted my life to Christ.

I know many women have this story. They go through intense heartbreak and cling to the only person who comes to their bedside, the only person who is never too busy or too tired or too annoyed: Jesus Christ. Well, that was my story. Still, I know I came to Christ with bad intentions. I followed the Shepherd thinking He would lead me to my beloved David. I was steadfast and devoted because I thought that if I changed my life David would see me, value me and want to love me the way I knew I was meant to. But that’s not how my story went. (Plot twist…I’m now married to an incredible man.)

As time went on I realized God separated David and I because we were just not meant to be. Although David hardly left the house without his Bible in his backpack and sang worship songs occasionally (loved that!), he was not submitted to God. (Ladies, take note. If a man hides the word in his backpack but not in his heart, chances are he’s not the one for you.) David couldn’t lead me to where God wanted me to go. He still loved the world and it was evident. It was a harsh reality for me to accept and I stained my journal with many tears hoping our circumstances would change, but they didn’t. God was resolved that I move on, that I heal and that I took time to just be His.

“Ladies, take note. If a man hides the word in his backpack but not in his heart, chances are he’s not the one for you.”

The first weeks of my return to Christ were beautiful. It felt like I was the prodigal daughter returning from a life of lack back to the abundance and comfort of my father’s home. In my heart we had a feast and a joyous celebration, then, after a few weeks of being “home”, the work began. There were fields that needed to be plowed (i.e. my old attitudes), animals that needed to be fed (i.e. my new habits), and bits and pieces that needed to be mended (i.e. healing and facing my past). Yes, much work needed to be done. The honeymoon phase couldn’t last forever. Slowly, God began to reveal my heart to me and, as the saying goes, “God don’t like ugly.”….to be continued.

ZS-Business Card 1.jpg

Zemi is the founder of Wife HER! Ministry and the owner and lead coach of Heaven Sent Her. She is an Eve’s Journey Life Coach and uses her certification both in business and in ministry to help women navigate the wedding planning process as well as in their transition to becoming wives.

Zemi is the author of several books and serves as a youth leader along side her husband. In addition to coaching brides and wives, Zemi also mentors and inspires hundreds of women using her social media platforms. She is passionate about helping others and seeks to serve wherever God leads her.