How to Stay Well | Prevention Resource Center

Commitment to the People of This Caribbean Paradise Galvanized a Volunteer Initiative Reaching Throughout the Island

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the Freewinds extended its help to the people of Aruba.

When Aruba closed its borders in March, the Freewinds, the Church of Scientology humanitarian ship, was docked in port. With a complete lockdown on all international incoming tourists, the island’s lifeblood, the Freewinds launched a campaign to ensure a speedy reopening.

It began with distribution of educational booklets to ensure everyone knew and understood how to keep themselves and their families well.

Inspired by the words of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard for handling such a circumstance,  “an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure,” as soon as the pandemic struck, the Church of Scientology researched and distilled the most authoritative guidelines on controlling the spread of the virus. The Church produced a series of booklets and public service announcements to make the information easy to understand and use. These were all published for download on the How to Stay Well Prevention Resource Center of the Scientology website and copies were shipped out across the globe.

On receiving copies, Volunteer Ministers from Freewinds, dressed in their distinctive caps and protective gear, distributed some 97,000 copies—enough to reach every resident on the island.

“I have been seeing the booklets everywhere I go,” says the Aruba Director of Tourism in a video on the new interactive timeline on the Scientology website: 20/21—A Look Behind & A Look Ahead. And Aruba has taken this advice to heart. It was able to open its borders to international visitors in July. One American travel agent, promoting the island to prospective clients after it reopened, commented “everyone was wearing masks and paying close attention to social distancing.”

Freewinds Volunteer Ministers teamed up with Aruba’s Fire Brigade to implement these protocols island-wide. Together, they prepared churches and schools for reopening. In total, they sanitized every public school on the island to the benefit of some 26,000 students. The minister at St. Nicholas Methodist Church described how he felt about the volunteers: “to give this kind of work and say ‘this is a gift’ is an inspiration.”

Volunteer Ministers teamed up with the fire brigade to sanitize churches, schools and public buildings throughout Aruba.
Volunteer Ministers teamed up with the fire brigade to sanitize churches, schools and public buildings throughout Aruba.

One staff member of the Department of Education said that had it not been for this sanitization, the schools would not have reopened. Another thanked the Volunteer Ministers on behalf of the parents. “You don’t have a clue how nice it is to have you in our schools,” she said.

Working together, they covered still more ground, sanitizing government, civic and cultural institutions—more than 4 million square feet of spaces. “I’m going to be honest about it,” said the Chief of the Aruba Fire Brigade. “It’s not something that we could have done on our own. But it’s not a surprise because the Freewinds has always been a part of the community and always willing to help the community. Just the relentless going forward, working for the good of everybody on the island, 24/7. And when they’re done, they turn around and look at you and say ‘What’s next?’”

The Freewinds’ efforts enabled Aruba to reopen its borders to tourism,” said the Minister of Tourism and Public Health. “We appreciate all you do for the country.”

The Freewinds was christened in June 1988 by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige and began service as a Church of Scientology religious retreat. The 440-foot motor vessel provides a distraction-free environment for parishioners to study and experience the highest level of spiritual counseling available in the Scientology religion.

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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