By a DOS Information Management Specialist
During the last two years, the Bahamas have been hit by various tragedies. Last hurricane season (June-December), we faced the largest hurricane in Bahamas history, Hurricane Dorian. As that passed, and the country started to recover, COVID-19 took over the world in a ferocious storm. Then a second hurricane hit the Bahamas – Hurricane Isaias. Through all these occurring, Information Management Specialists are asked to support various work projects and do our part to keep the Embassy running.
When Hurricane Dorian occurred, we were asked to turn the Embassy conference room that was built in the early 1970s into a command center for the military, USAID, and the State Department. We were given 24 hour’s notice. We had to act quickly to put together a secure solution that would meet all requirements. This all transpired while the hurricane was occurring. This hurricane did not just pass through – it sat on top of one of the islands for several days. The damage was insane, and at the same time we had to assist in getting secure communications to our Chief of Mission, so she could communicate with Headquarters while being in a US Coast Guard helicopter looking over the damage with the Prime Minister of the Bahamas. This period of my time in Nassau was a fast-paced, crazy time.
COVID-19 started in the Bahamas a few months later, with a request to make sure everyone was remote-capable. This once again came with about 24 hour’s notice. On top of that, the Department of State was not exactly known for remote capabilities. Luckily with the help of headquarters, we were able to get a majority of folks online working from home securely in the allotted time frame. This occurred just in time, as another hurricane hit Nassau, and this time we were on 24-hour lockdown because of the rise in COVID-19 cases.
During all this occurring, I have led a team to install the connection into our new Embassy construction site, fixed a decade long radio connection problem, and worked with a lot of very smart people. This life might not be for everyone, but it has been an adventure for my family. Next up in a few short months…a move to Riyadh!! Stay tuned as the adventure continues.