I returned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria on December 23rd. While I was one of the lucky ones to be able to leave Puerto Rico and miss the devastation that hit my adopted home, I have now had some time to see how bad things are in Puerto Rico. This post will continue my introductory post on Humanity from November 2017 and dive into some of what I see in Puerto Rico and how people can help rebuild this great island.
I must also note, I feel a lot of guilt for being able to leave Puerto Rico for the Hurricane and aftermath. I have a business which depends on my ability to be online and I would have let many people down if I wasn’t able to operate my business. In addition, I have three young children who I had to think about. Leaving the island before the hurricane was the only choice I had, but I am very happy to be back and begin helping with the rebuild.
The first thing I will say about Puerto Rico, is that the people are a proud and strong group who are making the most of a difficult situation. In addition, I know of many people who rose above and beyond to help out in the aftermath of the storm. The manager of the community I live in, for example, told me that our community donated 60,000 mattresses to the surrounding neighborhoods in the month after the storm. Another friend of mine has personally donated over $100,000 (and raised an additional $140,000) to go towards providing generators to people without power. I know another person in my town of Dorado who was literally out in the streets from Day 1 just helping anyone who needed help. And every day, even now four months after the storm, I see people making the most of a difficult situation and going about their lives and trying to get back to normal.
Here’s the thing though: this island still is hurting and needs help. FORTY PERCENT OF THE ISLAND STILL DOESN’T HAVE POWER. Let that sink in. Can you imagine nearly half of New York City going without power for FOUR MONTHS??? That is insane. Many of the communities near me, even in nicer areas, still don’t have power. How is this possible? I think the federal government needs to do more to support it’s citizens. Let’s not forget, Puerto Ricans ARE UNITED STATES CITIZENS! This lack of basic humanity that is being shown to the people down here is appalling to me (and this doesn’t even get into the children dying in Hospitals because of lack of care, or the lack of clean drinking water in many places). Someone within the executive branch of the government needs to make an executive decision to help actually rebuild Puerto Rico rather than just posture about what Puerto Rico can give in return for getting basic human aid.
There are some positive things I do see though. The humanity shown by people down here to their fellow brothers and sisters is uplifting. Locally and privately, people are helping those in need. Since the government is not responding in an obvious manner, it is up to private citizens and organizations to fill the void. If you want to help, please leave a comment or get in touch with me via one of the social media links at the bottom of my site. I plan to continue to contribute to rebuilding Puerto Rico over the coming years however I can – I believe in a long-term effort to help get this island back on it’s feet! And I also fully believe that Puerto Rico will rise to be better than it ever has been before.