The Fergusons fled the Bahamas after their home was flattened by Hurricane Dorian nearly three weeks ago, arriving in Kelowna just before midnight.
“We lost everything: clothes, all our personal effects, the only thing we were really able to hold onto was our documents because we kept them close the whole time,” Dexter Ferguson said.
Since then, the family has been living in Kelowna, getting heartbreaking updates from home.
“A lot of people right now are hurting. Not many people have jobs, not many people have houses, no water to drink, the situation is still very dire,” Dexter Ferguson said.
“Bodies stinking all over the island, a lot of people still missing,” he added.
Shortly after arriving in Canada, the Fergusons helped Dexter’s sister Amanda and her three-month-old son Maverick flee the Bahamas too.
Amanda said she couldn’t believe it when she got the phone call that the family was going to get her out.
“My stomach was in knots. I actually had a panic attack because I was scared but happy at the same time,” she said. “Because the only thing I was thinking about was finally getting away from the disaster and getting someplace safe.”
Since then, the family has had the opportunity to take in a quintessential Canadian experience — a hockey game.
“And it was actually fun. I don’t even really watch hockey on TV, but when we went to the rink, it was fun,” Amanda said.
WATCH BELOW: Extended interview with Dexter Ferguson (Sept. 9, 2019)
When the family first arrived in Canada, they said that they planned to regroup and then return to the Bahamas when conditions improved.
However, now, they’re realizing they don’t have anything to go back to, said Bridgenna Ferguson, Dexter’s wife.
“I really want to create a better life for my son, who deserves to have a better life. And I still feel for my home, I just want where I came from to get more aid,” she added.
The Fergusons are currently on a 90-day visa but hoping to begin a process that could extend their stay.
“We would definitely want to stay here in Kelowna,” Dexter said. “We just really want to work. We want to be contributing members of society here in Canada. We want to hopefully go to school, and just be a part of the community as much as possible.”
They’re also hoping to get their 10-year-old son into school, he added.
As the weather cools off, the family says their tropical blood is adjusting to cooler temperatures, but they’re still on the hunt for warmer clothes.
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