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Maintaining Health and Wellness after Erika

Since the passage of Tropical Storm Erika on August 27, 2015 there has been a greater need to safeguard ourselves from the vulnerability to illness and disease. As of September 16th there have been a total of 153 known cases of Gastroenteritis (commonly known as stomach flu), within certain areas of Dominica. In addition health officials fear that diseases such as Chikungunya and Dengue Fever, which are carried by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, may resurface due to improper storage of water, as well as fears of the reoccurrence of Leptospirosis on the island. Due to the mere fact that we living in Dominica are still recovering from the effects of the storm, we are more susceptible to such diseases than ever before. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe on our road to rebuilding and recovery:

Ensure the water you drink is safe

The lack of pipe borne water in some communities could give rise to diseases like gastroenteritis due to the use of water that may be contaminated. For safety precautions it is wise to treat sources of water (including pipe borne water) by boiling, use of bleach, purification tablet etc.

 

Protect yourself from mosquitoes by:

  • Using mosquito repellents, even while indoors.
  • When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks to cover skin from mosquito bite.
  • When indoors, use air conditioning if it is available.
  • Ensure that windows and door screens are secure and free of holes. If sleeping areas are not screened or air conditioned, use mosquito nets.
  • To reduce the mosquito population, get rid of mosquitoes breeding areas. These include old tires, cans, or flower pots that collect rain. Cover all items used to collect water; barrels, pails, large containers, etc.

 

Leptospirosis, like gastroenteritis, can be caused by contact with contaminated water.  Reduce chances of infection by:

  • Not swimming in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, or eliminating contact with potentially infected animals.
  • Wearing protective clothing or footwear if you are exposed to contaminated water or soil because of your job or recreational activities.

If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at info@millenia.dm.

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Rebuilding Faith and Relationships

This week we thought it would be very useful to share the following tips with you that could help bring some order and calmness back into our lives as we go through each day on the journey to recovery from the chaos and confusion that Tropical Storm Erika has left behind:

1) Reconnect and build relationships.
Since we all were impacted differently, it is vitally important to talk about the stress and pressures you have experienced with the people closest to you. Reach out to friends and family as soon as is possible. Call a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Just checking in to see if they are OK will only take a few minutes, and will do a world of good to you both.

Simply talk about your experience and how you got through the storm. Tremendous connection can occur through crisis, so this is an especially good time to reach out to friends or family who may have drifted away from your closest circle of relationships. Offer a word of encouragement and show support to individuals who suffered severely in the storm. Go out into your community and lend a helping hand to your neighbors, this in itself will not only reestablish relationships among family and friends but help form new ones in the community.

2) Rebuild your routines.
To regain strength quickly, identify what your normal routines were before the storm and then get back to them as soon as possible, get your life back on track because we all draw strength and security from a structured daily routine. Bed time, dinner time, getting up to go to school, or work, or church or the gym to work out. Even if you are staying in a hotel, shelter, or with family members for a while, stick as much as you can, with the rituals that you have typically followed that make up your daily lifestyle, this way you will feel the comfort of your stable and predictable routines, regardless of the stress of the many changes happening around you.

3) Reach out for faith.
Plugging back into your faith after the storm will allow you to release anxiety over the things that you know are too big for you, because you can trust God to handle them. In times of crisis, everyone believes in the power of prayer and the importance of their faith. There is tremendous strength in knowing what you believe and living in harmony with those beliefs and values. Dedicate a few minutes or perhaps even an hour per day to quiet mediation and reflection on what matters most if you want to continue to grow strong in spite of the storm. This is especially important when you or your children may feel lost, alone or afraid. God cares and taking time to pray and release those burdens will help you make it through the rest of your day.

Helping others in need is one of the greatest ways people of faith model what they believe, so avoid the tendency of being “too nice” to ask for help if you need it. Having a committed personal faith combined with the connection of a local house of worship will give you a tremendous sense of community to get through this storm as well as the ones to come.

4) Tell your story.
Telling your story now will give you additional strength as well as connect you to the neighbors and friends as they share their story with you. Young and old alike will benefit from hearing about how others survived this natural disaster. There is tremendous power in telling your story; healing power for you and helpful power for others who will gain insight and strength by hearing how creative people can become through a crisis. As you speak up about what happened, it will make it easier for other family members or coworkers to talk about their feelings of loss as well. Things will never be the same as before, but life will go on and we can rebuild and get through it better together.

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Maintaining a Safe Environment after a Disaster

It has been almost 2 weeks since the passing of Tropical Storm Erika which poured down 15 inches of rain on our nature isle in the early hours of August 27th 2015. Tropical Storm Erika has left serious damage to the island in several communities, with individuals having to be evacuated from their homes. Natural disasters can cause morbidity and mortality rates to increase long after a disaster has passed. Hence effective management of environmental health after a natural disaster is of primary importance. By taking suitable measures to maintain a healthy environment, we can help reduce the risks of disease and death. The environmental health measures that must be considered after a natural disaster include:-

  • Distribution of safe and accessible water both for drinking and domestic uses. Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated for domestic purposes such as washing dishes, preparing food, and drinking. Water often can be made safe by boiling, adding disinfectants, or filtering. When properly taken care of, water can then be used for the above mentioned as well as personal hygiene for example washing of hands etc.
  • Distribution and protection of safe food products. Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water, perishable foods, and those with an unusual odor, color, or texture. It is recommended that wooden cutting boards, baby bottle nipples, pacifiers etc. be discarded if they made contact with flood water. These items cannot be properly sanitized.
  • Sanitary disposal of solid and biological waste. Solid waste products should be properly disposed of. Especially with the increase in the use of bottled water on the island. Instead of being thrown in with regular trash any items that can be recycled should be. Biological waste should be carefully disposed of in order to prevent contamination from airborne diseases.
  • Ensuring that you breathe in proper air. As we may have noticed by driving or walking through certain parts of the island, there is a rise in dirt and dust particles in the air. Breathing in dust and dirt can have many negative effects on the body. In addition the odor of dead and decomposing tissue in the environment can attribute to many diseases and infections. When in such areas it is best to wear a mask or any item to properly cover your face.

We want all our citizens to be healthy for the rebuilding task ahead.  Do you have any further additional suggestions for keeping healthy as we cope with the aftermath of this storm?  Share with us in the comments below.

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Vote Diligently If You Love Our Country

Fortunate for us we live in a country where we have the privilege to choose people we believe have the ability to make this nation prosperous; people who work for the benefit of society and wellbeing of all by providing a system where all basic needs like food, shelter, education and health care are readily and affordably available.

 

As we are approaching Election Day we would like to remind our fellow Dominicans that it’s our right to vote – a right that many people made great sacrifices and fought for. Allow me to express a few other simple reasons why we should vote and vote wisely:

 

  1. To ensure that important issues like social security are dealt with in the most appropriate manner and principles like honesty are exercised. Voting allows you to eliminate the less desirable candidates and replace them with those who share your views.

 

  1. Your children. You probably aren’t in a situation where you can provide jobs for your children on your own and continue to protect them from the cruelty of life but you know their needs and wants, you have plans for their future. The government you choose will greatly affect your children’s life.

 

Although the importance of voting has been emphasized worldwide there are still those who may give reasons why they shouldn’t vote. Amongst those reasons are; “all politicians are the same” and “my vote will not count” but each and every vote in fact counts. Here I quote American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good. ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.”

 

Election Day is only 2 days away. Exercise your right to vote but remember it’s not a matter of which politicians you like or prefer it’s a matter of placing the nation (family, friends, neighbours, education, health care, national security, employment, infrastructure etc.) into capable and responsible hands.

 

For the love of country VOTE conscientiously!

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Independent in Dominica

This year our island celebrated its 36th anniversary of independence.  This season draws much excitement for our people; the thrills of dressing in our national wear, eating creole dishes, listening to creole songs and cadence music.  Some were very excited about the events like   Creole in the Park and World Creole Music Festival.  Because of all these activities many Dominicans returned home.  Some made arrangements for rental property while others made arrangements to stay with family members, and the rest returned to the home they built for times when they choose to visit for short periods and when they eventually return home upon retirement.

 

Speaking to a client last week who recently returned to Dominica, she expressed her satisfaction of having invested in a piece of land in the country side in Dominica where she built a small house.  Although distant from the town, she was happy that she was home, in her own home.  While away, she had a friend maintain the land for her and he was thoughtful enough to cultivate the land with food crops.  She spoke about being here at the right season which allowed her to walk just a few feet from her home to pick fruits like tangerine and orange.  Eager to eat ‘fig and codfish’ she’s looking forward to picking the ‘fig’ from her own land.  The conversation concluded by her saying “had I known the feeling that having my own home in my beloved country brings, I would have made that investment many years ago.”

 

In August we received an email from a gentleman who had recently visited Dominica and was planning a return trip.  Still excited about his experience, he was adamant of his intention to purchase a piece of land; owning a part of Dominica had become one of his goals.  La Plaine, I remember, was one of the places that impressed him.  On the subsequent visit he scheduled showings with Millenia Realty and a few other real estate companies and although the land he eventually bought was from another real estate agent, we were happy that he left satisfied.

 

To Dominicans living abroad, owning land in Dominica is a sanctuary; a place of safety, a place to rejuvenate.  To foreigners who continue to live outside of Dominica it is a place of escape, a home away from home.  To retirees, it’s like the saying goes “once a man twice a child” – you leave home, go out of state to work and return home to be in a worry free environment just as you did as a child!