Here’s an update on the disaster faced by Anna (aka Annie) Smith, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent, whose 33-feet long boat and home of 20 years sank in Vancouver just before Christmas…
I last blogged about this three weeks ago.
The sinking happened in the early hours and extremely dangerous conditions forced her to evacuate immediately, leaving almost everything – even her shoes – behind.
As a vulnerable ‘senior’, she faced serious health risks by being homeless and feared being preyed upon or becoming a victim of crime. With good reason, as it turned out…
Anna writes an update:
Things have taken a turn for the worse since your last blog. My boat was completely crushed and smashed to pieces when it was rammed up on the mud bank with extreme force. This completely destroyed almost all my belongings on board and left a trail of debris in the water.
I also had to deal with constant theft and vandalism. All my tools were taken, along with many parts that had considerable resale value such as the twin engines, propellers and steering wheel.
I did my best to recover some of my belongings from the wreck, by searching through the mud-covered debris at low tide (which happens around 4.00am in the morning) but this has been especially dangerous because there are hazards such as broken glass, leaking gasoline and nails lying in the mud.
I was able to recover a few precious photos, drawings and journals and some very muddy clothing, including the beautiful long orange dress which I wore in a fashion show at The Vancouver Art Gallery last year. (Blogged about HERE.)
Ongoing donations from a crowdfunding page arranged by a friend have been extremely helpful as I continue clean up and search for long-term housing. The contributions have been keeping me and my family off the streets and allowed us to stay at a small, accessible hotel near the boat. (Anna has 3 disabled family members who depend on her for support.)
With the donated money, I also bought rubber boots, protective equipment, tarps, waterproof overalls, gloves, safety supplies, warning signage, caution tape, flashlights, large rubber totes, cleaning and other supplies necessary for the situation. But, frustratingly, even these supplies were repeatedly pilfered and vandalized.
A few trusted friends have been assisting me in safely organizing, sorting, documenting, washing, transporting and moving things to a storage unit – again thanks to the crowdfunding donations.
I am on medical leave of absence from my job as a peer support worker at WISH Drop In Center Society, (a safe space for street based sex workers on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side). The crowdfunding has really helped to put food on my table during this incredibly trying experience and I am truly grateful. It’s not just the money that helps. Knowing that so many people care is amazing and is helping us get through this tough time and gives us hope.
At the time of posting this blog, the crowdfunding page has had $3,100 donated of a $5,000 target.