Since August 2018, a year after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma on Barbuda, Pastor Bonnie Floyd through her outreach Bonnie Floyd Ministries had started a home restoration project dubbed ‘Barbuda 180’.
Floyd indicated that the goal of the team and the project is to restore the interior of as many homes as the group has identified has new or repaired roofs.
With the help of many hurricane relief organisations, hundreds of homes have completed roofs, but two-thirds of them are far from functional, Floyd indicated.
Based on the ministry’s assessment, many of the families are still living in shredded tents right in their own front yards
“We’ve probably impacted about a half a dozen homes,” Floyd said of her team’s progress on the sister isle so far. Each home restoration she said, is estimated to cost US $3,000.
“We provide each home owner with three colour choices and we paint the entire inside of their home. We put the interior doors on and provide a full kitchen and bathroom restoration,” she explained.
Other amenities such as kitchen sinks, faucets, tiling, and shelving are also provided in through the programme.
Bonnie Floyd Ministries has been bringing teams of volunteers in on a very regular basis to help rebuilding.
“Since Irma, we’ve only been able to bring in teams of six people and so we’re only able to work on one house at a time,” she said.
The outreach, however, has now recently completed its permanent housing structure as a primary base of operations that can also provide dwelling space to accommodate a larger number of team volunteers from the United States.
“With the team home, we’re now able to bring in 16 members at a time, so we’ll be able to work on a number of houses at the same time, so we’re super-excited about that,” Floyd said.
Floyd’s parents, William and Kathleen Clever, were brutally murdered along with Ian Cridland and Thomas Williams on their yacht in Low Bay, Barbuda in January 1994. Ever since then, she has befriended and forgiven one of the convicted killers, Donaldson Samuel.
Floyd, who now calls Barbuda her second home, said that this restorative effort is one that was conceived even before Irma hit.
“Our hope was to teach entrepreneurship programmes, teach vocational skills in construction and just help the people of Barbuda improve their skills so that they can get jobs and start their own businesses and that was always our goal and then here comes Irma,” Floyd said of the outreach’s original intention before Hurricane Irma hit in 2017.
The US-based volunteers all donate their time and travel expenses towards the Barbuda effort.
The charitable work does not stop there, however. Floyd said that two teams of 15 female entrepreneurs from the US are due to arrive in Barbuda on January 25th to run programmes designed to add to the entrepreneurial capabilities on the sister-isle.
“They have sent over already to Barbuda 10 sewing machines, a pottery kiln and all the supplies for macramé and making jewellery,” she said.
The women will be conducting various seminars over a two-week period whereby Barbudans will be taught sewing and pottery. The outreach will also facilitate one-hour training sessions each day of the two-week training exercises, which will address opening small business and small business management.
“We have a long way to go and we don’t have any intention of leaving [Barbuda] until God says we’re done,” Floyd said about the ongoing efforts by her ministry on Barbuda.