Well, to be honest, we’ve had it since the 27th but I’ve been busy enjoying it..well most of it. I didn’t particularly enjoy the two hours it took to de-mold the fridge. But those are first world problems compared to the hardest hit areas of the island.
As you might have guessed there was much celebrating when the power came back on. Many happy faces, many wooo-hoooooo’s, many windows shutting, ac’s turned on and yes, of course, the bars were PACKED. When I say packed I mean cars parked a mile down the road packed. We were too tired for that so we opted for a bottle of rum, 4 cans of cold cokes and freshly made ice. Anyhoo it’s been nice going from grumpy/depressed to having a smile on my face, post maria has taken a huge tole on all of us with thousands still suffering greatly without water or access to any kind of power.
Of course the first thing I did was clean the freezer, ice trays and make ice which has been non-existent and a currency greater than gold. Then I did the two loads of the laundry I had been saving up that week hoping the power would come back on. You see, for the past three weeks there have been reports from the local AEE crews power would come on ANY MINUTE. Of course it got to the point where we stopped believing as days came and went.
Apparently there was a big hurry to electrify this area for two reasons: the National Guard’s main point of contact is here and they just reserved an entire motel as a camp for FEMA workers. For those two reasons we have also lucked out recently in the provisions department. A couple of weeks ago, many small vendors congregated in front of the National Guard making it easy for us to walk 5 minutes for a cheap lunch and a cold drink. Since Steve had to work during the week in San Juan this was a weight off his mind (only one car was working at this point-both alternators died and we only had time to fix one) in case traffic got really bad. Traffic, btw, is always bad…almost two hours each way for what should have been a 45 min commute tops. Between non-powered traffic lights and kids going back to school, it was stop and stop traffic.
Here’s hoping the rest of the island isn’t too far behind, unfortunately it will most likely be months for the most remote and hardest hit areas. The last 5 weeks seem like a nightmare I just woke up from, I dreamed about post hurricane madness every single night, waking up several times a night drenched in sweat..stressing about water, food, gas, the car breaking down, potholes the size of kiddie pools, etc, it was unrelenting. Puerto Rico will need a while to heal from all this madness even after all power has been restored.
This is a amazing interview with Illustrator and co-owner of Soda Pop Comics here in Puerto Rico. Here they discuss the exodus of many brilliant and creative young professionals before and after hurricane Maria, a must read.
Private groups and individuals are flying out to Puerto Rico as I speak to help with the relief effort’s, there are some truly amazing people out there. I’ve been told there are 10,000 troops here already.
As of today we have yet to see any groups handing out water, food or supplies. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done it just means where we live, those items aren’t available to us or they are in a location not broadcasted.
We’ve gone out twice to FEMA locations that were reported on the radio and when we arrived there was no one. We still have to search for very long hours and stand in very long lines to purchase water IF it is available.
As I’ve said before we are one of the lucky ones in that we live close to the metro area and all the roads are cleared. So imagine how the remote areas are faring, it must be incredibly frustrating and feel hopeless.
If there’s one thing I would ask of those on the mainland, is to contact your Congressman, contact whomever you think would be able to help, tell them that we need more people here…we need many, many more people here helping.
Workers here are overextended, hospital staff/police/military are exhausted and overworked. We need people to replenish these workers so that they aren’t overextended.
Supplies are not getting to Puerto Rico residents as desperately needed, we need more truck drivers, we need more helicopters, we need more pilots, we just need more.