Dominica is a country known for producing bananas, citrus, mangoes, coconut oil, and soaps that many other products used around the world. But, the small country and its many resources was heavily damaged by tropical storm Erika on Aug. 27.
The storm left an estimated 20 people dead with many more unaccounted for. The in wake of the storm, a “Unity Gathering” was held around Eddie the Tiger, to support and pray for our family in Dominica.
With a reasonable percentage of International students attending Grambling State University Dana Howard, director of Residental Life, felt a need to acknowledge the tragedy in a place where many Tigers call home.
Howard, spear-headed the visual, which she called a “Unity Gathering,” and the first phase of arelief effort–in this phase, she said that this phase is the acknowledgement phase, and that there will be more help to follow.
Howard mentioned that many of the International students sent her footage of what they had experienced back in Dominica, as well as the news footage here in the United States that moved her to action.
She said, “If it was me in that situation, I would want to know that people were praying for me…I did not want the Dominican students to feel like they were alone, I want them to understand that were are thinking and praying for them…”
Howard explained how important the international student population is to her, and the university. She spoke deeply about on how since shes been working in Residental Life she’s had strong relationships with the international students. She explained that the Unity Gathering is only phase one. With the help of student support services, SGA and other supporters around campus, there will be what is crowned phase 2 of the disaster relief effort.
She said that in phase 2, tangible help in the form of relief effort where donations will be accepted and distributed.
“We want to reach out and be there for our extended family, and were committed to helping them in any way that we can,” stresses Howard.
Kenisha Warrington a native of Sylvania, Dominica, said “I feel that the University really cares about international students. It makes us feel a since of togetherness…as if we are one. It feels good to know that the school really cares about our country.