Who: Rotarians Bob & Carrie Hemme, Lake Havasu City Rotary Club

What: Aid with water, reusable water containers along with transporting building materials, food and an Island Native.

Where: Antigua/Barbuda

When: November, 2017

Why: Aid hurricane victims on the devastated Island of Barbuda

My husband Rotarian Bob Hemme and myself, Rotarian Carrie Hemme happened to have our boat Lady J, on the Island of Antigua when hurricanes Irma & Maria hit the Caribbean region in early September. The Island of Antigua faired well, however it’s Sister Island, Barbuda was devastated with the entire population being evacuated to nearby Antigua while the rebuilding process began. 

Approximately 100 Barbudian natives had returned to their homes, with most sleeping in tents using sterno stoves to cook and without the daily luxuries such as electricity and running water. The organization Samaritan’s, brought in a portable desalinater allowing each household to gather 5 gallons per day for cooking and sanitation purposes; the average American family uses 300 gallons per day!
We had discussed the fact we have a water desalinater on board the Lady J which produces 30 gallons per hour - let’s help the people! With the approval of our Board, we purchased 50 collapsible water containers and began communicating with the Rotary Club of Antigua. It takes a village as we all know as in the end it took the efforts of NODS (National Office of Disaster Services), Customs, The Coast Guard along with the Army who controlled the receiving dock in Barbuda. Without the Antigua Rotary Club’s governmental contacts however; this project would have never occurred.

As the sun rose on the morning of November 14th, we pulled up to the St. John’s Customs dock where the Director of NODS along with his team loaded our boat with building supplies and a Native Barbuda boarded who was excited to reunite with her family and bring them a large supply of food. Not only were the locals excited about the additional water rations they were receiving, they were ECSTATIC about the collapsable water containers as they were using small water bottles bottles to gather their rations. With all building supplies unloaded we headed back to Antigua the following morning and home in time for Thanksgiving with our families.

Yours in Rotary,
Carrie & Bob Hemme