The Dominica High Commission was pleased to support a group of Dominicans and friends of Dominica from Bristol at a fund raising event which included a special screening of Hurricane Maria Devastation - An iPhone film by Sherrie Eugene-Hart. The fundraiser was held on 5th January 2018 and was organised by Sherrie Eugene-Hart. Representing the High Commission was Mrs Agnes Adonis. On behalf of the people and government of Dominica, the High Commission extends sincere thanks and gratitude to the organisers for their contribution towards the relief effort in building back a resilient Dominica.
Below is Sherrie’s account on the event.
“The event took place on 5th January 2018 following a visit to Dominica three weeks after Maria. We were delighted to welcome Agnes Adonis and other representatives from the High Commission in the absence of Acting Commissioner, Janet Charles.
The event got off to an uplifting start as the crowd stood for the Dominican National Anthem. It was an opportunity to reflect on the Island we all hold dear and to spend a moment to listen to the words ‘Land of Beauty, Land of Splendour’ in the knowledge that Dominica will one day become beautiful and splendid again.
The evening was hosted by TV Producer Sherrie Eugene-Hart and radio station manager husband Patrick Hart who set the scene as they introduced the first performer and Jazz singer Kizzy Morrell who quite appropriately sang ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’.
Next in line was Jamaican Folk Group Tan Teddy. This 9 strong acapella group sang traditional cultural and sometimes comical renditions of folk songs in Jamaican Patois. They serenaded the audience and encouraged participation. Later we learned that Tan Teddy raised over £200 for Dominica whilst singing In Town before Christmas. Tan Teddy were keen to share, that although Jamaica and Dominica are literally miles apart, that we are all part of the Caribbean and they stand in solidarity and empathy with Dominica. This was greeted with huge applause.
Following Tan Teddy the crowd were settling, in preparation for the iPhone film. Sherrie gave a brief introduction and explained that she together with her sisters took footage with their phones and put together a series of interviews from people who experienced the Hurricane first hand, including ‘Bessy’ from Mahaut who stepped on a nail and almost lost her foot to the infection. The audience quickly silenced as the film seemed to grab the emotion and the attention of all who watched.
Immediately after the film, the representative from the Dominica High Commission, Mrs Adonis, gave a brilliant address regarding how Dominica is now, how the High Commission responded to the disaster, what still has to be done, and how young people are an integral part of the longevity of Dominica’s recovery. They explained that the new website is in development and welcome everyone to claim their involvement.
One of the innovative aspects of the event was that the organisers did not ask for a set fee for the entrance, or the food, rather a donation. This balanced out beautifully as some gave more whilst others gave less. It was a strategy to encourage inclusion rather to exclude people who could not afford to come. All proceeds were for Dominica.
Whilst people enjoyed the food and listened to music from Chris Gallion and Dominique Moore, raffle tickets were being sold and interviews were being conducted by BBC Journalist and friend of Dominica, Primrose Granville.
During the evening Sherrie took advantage of a raffle prize donated by former World Champion Kick Boxer Darren Eli whose family are Dominican. The prize was not only a pair of boxing gloves, but a training skipping rope. We managed to raise £60 in the auction which was won by Richard Eugene. It was at this point that people started to emerge from the audience with cheques and pledges of cash for Dominica. Dr Marie-Annick Gournet from Guadeloupe presented £2,000. Tan Teddy £200. African voices pledged £200, whilst Rotary Club International gave a presentation on how they can help us link with funders.
Then came the time when two individuals who were in Dominica at the time of Maria spoke of the experience of living through a category 5 Hurricane. This was a moment to behold as Darius Jones and Mr Douglas spoke from the heart about how they survived Hurricane Maria.
The evening ended with huge thanks to the Dominica High Commission’s Representatives, the entertainers and everyone who contributed, to the wonderful fundraiser. Together, we managed to raise £1,025.25 for Dominica.
To date, the people of Bristol have sent 52 barrels to Dominica, raised over £4,000 for Education, the Homeless and rural areas. We will continue to support the Island so long as Dominica needs us to”.