ERIKA’S ECHOES: ‘Team Relief’ to the rescue in Coulibistrie

Members of Team Relief rest after assisting residents of Coulibistrie
Members of Team Relief rest after assisting residents of Coulibistrie

“And a child will lead them…” Isiah 11:6

John Christopher of “Team Relief” out of Penville is not a child.

In fact, he’s 29 years old but he’s definitely leading.

Christopher is a teacher at the Vieille Case Primary School and he started the group, Team Relief, to assist the community of Coulibistrie and its environs after the ravages of Erika.

“We got together just last week. We were just chilling on the block. We always together hanging out, cooking food and we decided, boy, you know what, instead of just staying in Penville and cooking food among ourselves, let’s go out instead. We, as a group, are Dominicans – all of us – and we decided to put our hands together and come together as a people to support our people,” he said in explaining how the group came into existence.

Christopher is leader and founder of Team Relief
Christopher is leader and founder of Team Relief

The group’s motto is: Help Us to Help Them! They have been soliciting support from individuals, companies and organizations in Penville and on Saturday, September 5, 2015, they descended upon Coulibistrie to bring relief to those afflicted and affected by the events of Thursday, August 27 when TS Erika hit Dominica.

“Today, we did home-to-home visits. We brought more than 50 roast breadfruit, codfish, water, clothes, food hampers, a lot of stuff, and we just had a lot of fun interacting with the people, at least making them laugh because it’s a time of sorrow. We’re a group of happy people. We also assisted some people with shoveling dirt out of their houses,” he noted.

Christopher singled out a friend of his by the name of Smith from Portsmouth and a Rounders group in their village for special mention.

“Smith gave a lot of assistance. One day he spent about $500 with us buying foodstuff and items for school, you name it, whatever you want in the home and the Penville Sixers donated about $800 and we took that to buy food hampers,” he noted. “We need to applaud our people when they come out to help. I’m very thankful to all the people who assisted us to assist the victims in the north of the island; those who helped us to help them.”

“Team Relief” consists of 43 members and they were 20-plus strong in Coulibistrie, ranging in age from 15 to 42; the majority were young men.

“Everybody in the group is somewhat involved in community life – schoolchildren, housewives, teachers, counsellors, doctors, even ‘paros’ because the ‘paros’ climb the breadfruit tree for us, so thank you ‘paros,'” he noted.

The cost of transportation to and from Penville came from their own pockets and Christopher said it can be costly so, for now, they will focus on the areas from Coulibistrie northwards.

He had this message for other young people.

“The Government cannot do it along. Skerrit can’t do it alone. Lennox can’t do it alone. It takes a collective effort, a togetherness and let’s build together,” he said.

Ericson Robinson, Chairman of the Coulibistrie Village Council, thanked the group on behalf of the community.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to “Team Relief” from Penville for demonstrating that tremendous effort in coming out to support us in rebuilding our community. We need all hands on deck and when young people come out and step up to the plate and show that they really mean business, I want to commend you for that. You have come from far and the energy that you have demonstrated today really goes a long way. It’s what propels us. You gave us that boost and when young people step up, the others follow and I really feel grateful. Continue to motivate your team and whatever activities that you have, I will support because what you all have brought to Coulibistrie is tremendous,” he remarked.

Christopher promised that the presence of “Team Relief” will be felt in the weeks to come as they will be back to assist in any way that they can.

“Dominica is one land, one flag, one people,” he said.

Christopher shakes hands with Coulibistrie Village Council Chairman Ericson Robinson
Christopher shakes hands with Coulibistrie Village Council Chairman Ericson Robinson

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22 Comments

  1. gweneth joseph
    September 11, 2015

    Kudos to you Team Relief.wish many more young ppl would follow your example. Thanks on behalf of Coulibistrie.My ppl keep hope alive.

  2. never shameful
    September 11, 2015

    This is exactly what we need to see more often in the country .All the young men doing more positive works so everyone can see that the young men in this country can make a difference and that there are a lot of positive young men on the island not only young men cause trouble.
    Hats off to you guys keep up the positiveness.
    One love one heart.

  3. From Fond St Jean
    September 11, 2015

    Good job

  4. Loud Voice
    September 10, 2015

    What a wonderful gesture, this is really heart warming

  5. KEEP US INFORMED
    September 10, 2015

    Thumbs up to the young people especially the young men, keep up the wonderful work that you have started .

  6. penville
    September 10, 2015

    We came out with a helping and and love …young men usually get them selves engaged in negativity but we choose to make a difference …we need to build Dominica together and that’s what our relief team is all about…HELP US TO HELP THEM……I REP 767

  7. Rits
    September 10, 2015

    Awesome. Tears keep running down my cheeks. God bless these young people. Keep the spirit of togetherness. Let no negativity destroy u all. Unity is strength. Well done. Penville. so proud of you all and by the way my grandson lives there.

  8. #teamRelief
    September 10, 2015

    We will continue to play our part in nation building and we will in ever way support anything positive. .
    Often times we hear all the negative about the young people but we dare to send a different message. .
    Because believe or not..There are positive young men and women out there..who seek to make a difference. .God bless our beautiful Dominica

  9. Dave Bertrand
    September 10, 2015

    In times like that we need each other. Keep the spirit alive. I think that other communities should follow your examples. A job well done. God bless! One love!

  10. sava
    September 10, 2015

    Awesome Job!!!

  11. trustee
    September 10, 2015

    Blessings will shower and will continue to shower on “Team Relief” out of Penville.

    You all will surely receive double blessings. LOVE TO ALL of you guys/women.

  12. Pondera
    September 10, 2015

    What a wonderful gesture. Excellent indeed. God Bless you all!

  13. Shay
    September 10, 2015

    This brought tears of joy. It is so good to see that Dominica has so many YOUNG MEN still being positive. I am proud!!

  14. unknown767
    September 10, 2015

    love the movement!

  15. Thinking my way
    September 10, 2015

    Great job mr Christopher, keep up the spirit of togetherness Dominica will rise again

  16. thanks
    September 10, 2015

    Thank you Team Relief. We appreciate you. I was especially impressed when I read this “Team Relief” consists of 43 members and they were 20-plus strong in Coulibistrie, ranging in age from 15 to 42; the majority were young men.\”

  17. grell
    September 10, 2015

    Great job to all of you,God will continue to bless you all,and he will indeed be thankful.

  18. kim
    September 10, 2015

    great job guys!!!! keep up the hard work. we appricaite what is being done..

  19. Beverly Bonnie
    September 10, 2015

    Great job young people, may the Lord bless you all richly

  20. ??????.....
    September 10, 2015

    Tears… must it take a disaster to bring us together? We can keep that comaradie going all year round. We must continue to love one another every day. As the leader said no one person can do it alone. Let us take this as a step in the right direction. We pull down the spirits of division, politics, lying , slander, hatred, jealousy, envy in the Mighty Name of Jesus and we replace with genuine love for each other as Christ loved us. Thank you Lord for opening the eyes of our people that we are a,little this together. Satan take your ugly agents with you….. you have been swept away. .. you will no longer use our resilient people of Dominica ….. the fire of the Almighty have destroyed you …. you are no longer ….. we pray peace and love on all our citizens now in the Name of Jesus. …

  21. Michael Norris
    September 10, 2015

    This story is so uplifting! Thanks, Mr. Christopher and your crew

  22. A Daughter
    September 10, 2015

    Wonderful Job \”Team Relief\” Keep on Going Strong even after the storm has passed. Infiltrate in whatever and where ever you can. All can learn a lesson from your demonstration of strength, interaction, togetherness and hardwork. Great Job all; especially the young men.

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