On Oct. 20, The Butterfly Organization of The Abacos held its first fundraising event by inviting 18 local golf aficionados to participate in a golf tournament held on the pristine golf course of The Abaco Club at Winding Bay.
According to the organizers, the fee for each participant was $299 including food and drinks.
The golfers were met and welcomed in the morning by the organization’s founder, Mrs. Ettamae Jones, and the Golf Director, Mr. Brian Shaver.
The golfers were divided into teams of two, assigned golf carts, and off they went to face the challenges of the 18 golf holes. The weather was perfect for an outdoor venture, and the golfers took advantage of it by staying several hours on the course.
Butterfly Organization member Samara Albury followed the golfers around taking photographs; the other 14 members attending the event socialized on the deck facing the beach or enjoyed the shade of the Beach Bar having drinks, while awaiting the return of the golfers.
Mrs. Ettamae Jones, senior welfare officer at the Department of Social Services, explained that she was challenged to create an organization relating to domestic violence after a visit to Abaco by Ms. Gaynel Curry. While working at the United Nations, she said that Ms. Curry developed an understanding of domestic violence around the world and wanted to know what the situation was on Abaco.
Mrs. Jones mentioned that in her many years of working at Social Services, she was exposed to what was happening on the island.
“So,” she said, “instead of putting a Band-Aid on the wound, I decided to take action, hence the decision to create The Butterfly Organization of The Abacos, a decision re-enforced following a shared experience with another member.”
On Nov. 18, 2017, a committee was formed with Mrs. Jones as the chairperson, and Ms. Carrie Lowe as vice-chair. Mrs. Jo-Ann Bradley became the secretary, and Ms. Davina Leach, the Treasurer. Tamica Rahming, Bernadette Hepburn, Jovita Charite, Madeline Liberal, Samara Albury, Desmond Bootle, Anna Maria Cote, Sherryl Nixon and Vandea Stuart were attending members.
Mrs. Jones explained that the group decided to first empower women through workshops. By attending the workshops, women learned about tools that could give them independence through knowledge, such as “women and the law,” budgeting, resume writing, job interview procedures, self-care, diet and exercise.
She said that The Butterfly Organization of The Abacos’ mission is to raise awareness about domestic violence, to offer support and counseling, to implement group support for women and children, and to send them to a safe house if necessary.
Its vision is to offer a safe haven and necessary resources that will enable survivors to regain control of their lives.
The Butterfly Organization of The Abacos is in the process of obtaining a non-governmental organization (NGO) status. Until then, the association operates under the umbrella of the Bahamas Crisis Centre in Nassau.
According to Mrs. Bradley, all the money raised from the tournament will go towards helping victims, whether for medical care, tickets to travel to the Bahamas Crisis Centre in Nassau, or as monetary support for the Crisis Centre for the people from Abaco sent there.
Additionally, Mrs. Jones mentioned that from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, counselors from the Bahamas Crisis Centre will come to Abaco to train people on how to answer the domestic violence hotline and on ways of dealing with the women in need. Mrs. Jones would like men to attend the training sessions as well.
By 3 p.m., the golfers had returned. They met at the Beach Bar where the results were announced and the prizes distributed.
Four oil paintings of the golf course by Jo-Ann Bradley, and four prints of watercolors depicting butterflies painted by Mrs. Sheila Tiernay, Carrie Lowe’s mother, were displayed at the Beach Bar as prizes to be handed out by Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Lowe to the members of the best teams.
And the winners were: in first place, the team of Robert Pinder and Sebastian Iberri with par 70. The team of Remy Altidor and Patrick Kelly placed second with par 72. Damon Pinder and Daron Roberts came third with par 75.
A subsequent fundraiser, The Butterfly Chase, will take place at Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour, and is planned for Feb. 16, 2019. A third fundraiser is scheduled for April 6, 2019 called The Butterfly Ball, and it will be held in the Bahamas Government Complex courtyard.
The Butterfly Garden, a memorial to Harderia Bootle, allegedly murdered by her husband on Oct. 21, 2017, was created by The Butterfly Organization of The Abacos, which also takes care of its maintenance.