Family picking up pieces left by Erika

Ask anyone from Bath Estate and surrounding communities –– in Saint George, Dominica –– where the ideal weekend liming spot is, and they will point you to the Dead End Bar.

With the bar a mere stone’s throw away from the Bath Estate River, near the bridge linking to the neighbouring Elmshall community, residents would head to their favourite chill-out spot for a drink, a game of dominoes, or just to hang out, the latest party music throbbing in the background.

Mewess Pascal and grandchildren.
Mewess Pascal and grandchildren.

That was the case until two and a half weeks ago, before Tropical Storm Erika caused the Bath Estate River to burst its banks, destroying everything in its path –– including the bridge, and the bar.

Today, that corner of Bath Estate stands silent, and residents are just trying to bring back some semblance of order to their lives. Large rocks have been set where the bridge once stood, to allow pedestrians to travel between Elmshall and Bath Estate.

Boulders have been placed where the bridge once stood to allow pedestrians to travel between Bath Estate and Elmshall.
Boulders have been placed where the bridge once stood to allow pedestrians to travel between Bath Estate and Elmshall.

As for the bar, it is now a temporary home for its owners Mewess Pascal and her family, who lost nearly all their possessions when the river swept through their house in the early hours of August 27.

“My mother is the one who woke us up,” Pascal’s daughter Tracey Williams told Barbados TODAY.

“We just woke up, and the river was coming down and we couldn’t even take anything.  We just basically had to get out . . . . We had to jump the wall and try to get to the other side by the neighbours there. And again we couldn’t stay there because [the river] burst the wall, and this is how the water ended up coming to the other side; and
we couldn’t even stay there.”

While the building is still intact, as a home it has been uninhabitable since the storm. Almost all the furniture is damaged. And the pieces which were salvaged, after days of clearing debris, have been placed under galvanized sheet covering, where the family gather during the day. At night they sleep in the bar.

Beds damaged by Tropical Storm Erika.
Beds damaged by Tropical Storm Erika.

“Everything is gone. Everything! It’s just gone! I can’t even explain it. Really still trying to comprehend everything, you know?” Williams said.

“We have our main house; we have one in the back, and we have the business –– the bar. The bar was good in a way that we could work with it, and this is where we’ve been staying. My mum and my dad and my aunt, they didn’t want to really leave because we have a business; so we kind
of had to secure that.”

Pascal recalls previous storms, including Hurricane Dean in 2007.

“But this is the worst I’ve ever seen in my life,” she said.

Of everything that Erika took away from the family, it appears their biggest loss was their dog Zorro.

“I cried for my dog. It’s the only thing that made me cry.”

Pascal believes the two-year-old Rottweiler would have survived if her husband had untied him that morning.

“When we got up in the morning, he went to monitor the river; but he could untie him, take him out of the cage, because he wouldn’t die.

“He was a nice dog,” the 71-year-old said, her voice cracking.

“I didn’t even cry for the rabbits. But right now, I don’t have him to guard us, and now we need him. I love him,” she continued, wiping a lone tear from her cheek.

Her grandson Zev, sitting next to her, also sheds tears at the mere mention of Zorro.

“He has been crying for Zorro,” Pascal told Barbados TODAY.

“He was a nice dog!”

Looking at her family’s gathered belongings, daughter Tracey shakes her head.

“I just cannot believe this is happening again,” she says, in reference to Hurricane Dean, by which the family suffered minimal damage.

“But I guess it’s what makes you stronger. That’s why He gave us a mind and a brain to have to live through things like that. So it’s just to keep going and holding on.”

As for her mother, she is just thankful that no one in her family was hurt or lost in the storm.

“There were seven of us in the house and nothing happened to any of us. We are still alive,” Pascal said.

She also plans to get another dog, once the family is back on its feet. And she has already chosen a name. He will be called Zorro.

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