Reigning Miss World visits hurricane devastated Bahamas

Vanessa Ponce De Leon has embarked on her last trip as the reigning Miss World.

‘My last trip as Miss World has come, and what a better place to be than the Bahamas! This is the second time I have visited this beautiful environment. Seven years ago I came for a wedding on Ábaco Island, a wonderful celebration of someone’s new life and now I’m going to the same area but for a very different reason.’

Vanessa has travelled to the Bahamas to visit the areas most affected by the September 2019 hurricane Dorian. Which sustained the highest winds ever recorded for a hurricane at landfall when it struck Abaco leaving devastation in its wake. During the course of this trip Miss World will be working in tandem with the Miss Bahamas team and with their continued support she will navigate through the island visiting the most affected areas.

‘As I travel through the island I get flashbacks of my first time in the Bahamas seven years ago. But I don’t recognize this place, half of the trees have fallen, you can see them still broken in two. The vegetation has turned brown and the electric lines are all over the floor. The storm was so strong that it took all the vehicles from the parking lot and has spread them across the area. That has happened with the boats too, you can see them across the highway. Stranded in land. I see two buildings without a roof, no one is here, and there are no sounds.’

During her trip Vanessa travelled to Amy Roberts School, the only place where local kids can still go to class.

‘The kids are shy but curious, we have a warm welcome with songs. I ask them what they remember from the storm. The kid’s perspectives are fascinating. They tell me about the cold, that they were scared and that the water was almost to their chest. Miss Bahamas and I try to give them a little advice. They are strong, but this memory will mark them forever.’

During the course of her trip Vanessa will meet with the Deputy Prime Minister, attend three fund raising dinners and a charity fashion show all with the intention of raising enough funds to make a difference in this community. A cause to which Beauty with a purpose was the first to donate.

‘It may take over ten years to fully recover and build back their city. This trip has reminded me how easily something can change. It is scary to think how all the amazing places I have visited could be swept away so easily. I will take great inspiration from the strength and resilience of the Bahamians. I now look to the future and am intrigued to learn how we help to speed up their recovery.’

Vanessa brought with her the promise that the Miss World team will return in the New Year with her successor to offer more support.

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