Mexico’s Vanessa Ponce De Leon has embarked on her last trip as the reigning Miss World.
‘My last trip as Miss World has come, and what a better place to be than the Bahamas! This is the second time I have visited this beautiful environment. Seven years ago I came for a wedding on Ábaco Island, a wonderful celebration of someone’s new life and now I’m going to the same area but for a very different reason.’
Vanessa has traveled to the Bahamas to visit the areas most affected by the September 2019 hurricane Dorian. Which sustained the highest winds ever recorded for a hurricane at landfall when it struck Abaco leaving devastation in its wake. During the course of this trip, Miss World will be working in tandem with the Miss Bahamas team and with their continued support she will navigate through the island visiting the most affected areas.
‘As I travel through the island I get flashbacks of my first time in the Bahamas seven years ago. But I don’t recognize this place, half of the trees have fallen, you can see them still broken in two. The vegetation has turned brown and the electric lines are all over the floor. The storm was so strong that it took all the vehicles from the parking lot and has spread them across the area. That has happened with the boats too, you can see them across the highway. Stranded in land. I see two buildings without a roof, no one is here, and there are no sounds.’
During her trip, Vanessa traveled to Amy Roberts School, the only place where local kids can still go to class.
‘The kids are shy but curious, we have a warm welcome with songs. I ask them what they remember from the storm. The kid’s perspectives are fascinating. They tell me about the cold, that they were scared and that the water was almost to their chest. Miss Bahamas and I try to give them a little advice. They are strong, but this memory will mark them forever.’