For Yuba City, Calif.-based nail tech Kristina Carlson, manicuring became a life-changing experience when she visited the hurricane-devastated city of Nassau, Bahamas, with a group from her church. Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas, but it’s also the poorest region of the country, and the islands were severely damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. “My church group partnered with Victory Chapel Church to be a part of their ministry and rebuilding efforts there in the city,” explains Carlson. “This was a scouting trip to see what we could do and what our opportunities were.” Carlson’s group provided vacation Bible school to local children, gave out shoes, and helped repair roofs as well as offering manicures.
Carlson did nails for residents at All Saints Camp, a small housing camp for terminally ill people which currently also houses a family with small children. “There are 40 houses on the property — approximately 10 sq.ft. rooms with a window and a sink,” explains Carlson. Due to the hurricane damage, there was no hot water and no power to the communal kitchen facility, and the roofs had major damage.
“We spent an afternoon offering manicures to the ladies,” says Carlson. “They were so excited. The little girls giggled. They are very shy because they are shunned by many.” She says the women appreciated the manicures because they spend much of their days cleaning and doing laundry, or in bed. “They never get to be pampered,” she says. Because there were no manicuring tables or lamps, “we all hung out under a shade area doing manicures on our knees and the corners of old chairs,” she adds. “It totally didn't matter. They loved it. Their health issues were no more for a brief moment. When a person is sick, to be touched is priceless.” She sang with the residents and talked about their families, and they told stories of their previous lives and adventures. “This trip changed my life,” Carlson says. “My heart belongs to Nassau, Bahamas. We have no idea how hard it is for our brothers and sisters out there living in this world.”