Hurricane Maria

Today’s topic will be about an event that took place a year ago, on September 20th. For those who don’t know what happened, on that day, Puerto Rico was hit by a  Category 5 hurricane. It left the Island broken, both literally and emotionally.

 

I remember being at my house during it. I spent it with my family (my mother, brother and I), it’s funny… because it sounds as if it was a festivity, but it wasn’t. We prepared the little things we had (food, water, batteries, board games, etc.), we closed all the doors and all the windows, we charged our electronics and then, we went to sleep. I remember waking up at 5:00am and seeing my mother watching what was going on outside through a window. There was a lot of rain, and of course, a lot of wind. You could feel the pressure of the wind still being inside the house.

 

After everything was “over”, we turned on the radio and they said the Island had lost all electricity, there was a black-out. It wasn’t a 3 day black-out, it lasted almost 3 months, and maybe more to other areas of the Island. The next weeks that came by, everybody was on survival mode. Trying not to eat a lot of the food, trying to not drink so much water because we didn’t know when we were going to be able to get any of them again.

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{Image: by Josephine Rivera}

People started growing anxious, there was no way to get money, there was no form of communication. We had to drive for hours just to get something to eat, to drink, to charge our phones and/or try to receive any signal. The lines at the gas stations were so long, people could be there for days, in the same line. They had to put a maximum price, so everybody had the same amount of gas, or less.  There were infinite lines everywhere, at the supermarket, at the bank, literally everywhere.

To be honest, my family raised me to adapt to things, specially my mother. So, that’s exactly what we did, we adapted. Just like everybody else, we had to figure out how to do things, that we wouldn’t usually do. We cooked outside with a candle and hand washed our clothes. We also visited family members and close friends. I spent most of the days sleeping, because there was nothing else to do. There were times where I felt really anxious. Before the hurricane, I took the time to download a lot of songs so I could keep myself entertained. The times I felt anxious, I would listen to the music I had in my phone.

 

Everything was happening so fast yet so slow that to this day, I still have mixed emotions about that experience. For a moment, I thought my family was gonna send my brother and I to the United States to look for a job, change universities, basically start a new life. I wasn’t ready for that, I couldn’t leave just like that. Everything I had/have is right here on the Island, my family, my friends, my studies, people that mean a lot to me. Of course, at the moment , it felt like nothing was going to improve, that everything was going to remain the same. So leaving, became a possibility, but for others, it was an obligation.

{source: http://closerthantheyappear.fm/ }

A lot of people lost their homes, a place that carried so many memories, where so many events took place. They lost their belongings, some lost family members and even themselves..

These two tweets are from the President of United States. That’s his reaction, after everything that has happened.

It was a such a horrible time, people actually took their lives because they couldn’t take it any longer. No income, no help from the government, no family, no jobs. Some people, including the President of the United States, think that Puerto Rico wasn’t as affected. Basically that we were being overly dramatic. To the people that lost their roofs, FEMA gave them a blue roof and to this day, there are still, more than 100 people with blue roof. To this day, the government still “haven’t been able” to help all the people that needed the most help. Puerto Ricans were very affected, both physically and mentally.

I really hope that one day, things will get better or at least, better than they are now. After everything people lost, I hope they get to find themselves again. I hope that Puerto Rico grows greener, brighter, more beautiful than ever before.

 

 

{Featured Image: by Suomi NPP Satellite, CC Licensed}

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