Postcards from post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico
December 4th, 2017
Workers prepare a line behind a vendor selling American and Puerto Rican flags.
Between Nov. 9th and Dec. 4th Arthur P. Malm and I went on a personal mission to Puerto Rico (PR) to distribute water filters and solar panels. A picture is worth a 1000 words, but pictures imperfectly capture the the spirit of a people. Puerto Rico needs help, but the are doing a great job dealing with and economically crushing situation. “Puerto Rico se levanta!”
A family in a roofless home watches Art Malm demo a water filter How they keep the water off the owls, I don’t know. No fan, no light, no problem for a pre-Christmas gathering (in the daytime.) Down the street, the lack of power meant she could not use her fan, so the mosquitoes were a problem and she could not get repellent. Next door in Pezuela, a bedridden man lacked a working oxygen bottle and safe running water. Luckily his son had a generator he could run part of the time. Blue tarps are everywhere in PR, a stopgap until roofs can be repaired. A landslide destroyed this home. The water line was run from a barrel beneath a stream after the landslide; this is why they need water filters. Luis Soto and Nilsa Velez of PPUC — Pepina por Una Causa deliver bottled water. Hopefully our filters will decrease this. In other places, crews are working to restore power — but it will take a long time, almost every line was knocked down. With no power, you have no water. The sign above says to boil the water, I think. An entire line of high-voltage long-distance lines were ripped from their foundations and lean against the highway. Even in downtown San Juan, there is much work to do — I think this truck said “ConEdison” on the side. El Yunque, the southernmost National Forest of the US, will be closed until December — 2018. Looks like Don Quixote finally won against these windmills. A proud but maimed giant produces no power. This beautiful town has a nice beach, and now power. I think it is Húcares. A beach outside Arecibo, perfectly clean and almost deserted. I imagine sport fishing is great here. A fallen billboard outside of San Juan. What we couldn’t give away directly, we gave to the Catholic Church in Ciales, which had only a generator.