Several American students attending Ross University in Roseau, Dominica, located in the Caribbean Islands, had to be evacuated after being caught in the direct path of hurricane Maria. Of those students one, Logan Striplin, of Texarkana shared his story with us.
Striplin graduated from Texarkana College with his Associates degree in Nursing and then went on to get his Bachelor’s at the University of Texas at Arlington. He worked at the St. Michael’s Emergency Department as a scribe for 2 years and then as a nurse for another 2 years before deciding the head to medical school at Ross University.
“I’ve never met a doctor from Ross University that wasn’t excellent, which is part of the reason I chose to go there,” said Striplin, “You also get a broader range of clinical experience at a school like this.”
They were told to prepare several days before the storm hit by University officials, but ultimately had no clue what to expect because neither Striplin or his roommate had been in a hurricane before.
The storm lasted around 8 hours, said Striplin, and when it was over the beautiful rainforest covered island had been completely devastated.
“Most of the houses around us were destroyed, and there trees all over littered like matchsticks,” said Striplin.
He says they truly underestimated the storm, they had to ration their food and water and live off of what they had. A few days later the school encouraged them to come and stay on campus because locals were beginning to loot and fight in the streets and the campus would ultimately be a safer location for students to seek shelter.
“Most of the buildings on campus had been destroyed also, so we gathered with groups of people we met and had to sleep on the concrete outside,” said Striplin.
After a few days of living on campus Striplin’s number was drawn and he began his long journey back home. Starting with a 14 hour boat ride to another island where he was able to eat and clean himself up, before heading to the airport to make his flight home. Since returning home he has been picking up shifts at St. Michael’s and working to try and save up money in order to replace some things he lost.
The university is setting up an academic recovery plan for those who had to be evacuated and are hoping to have them back in classes within a month. The school will have to be relocated due to the devastation caused by the storm.
“Overall it was the worst experience I’ve ever been through, but it was a great learning experience,” said Striplin.
If you would like to help and donate to the cause you can visit DARDA.org for more information