Puerto Rico in Recovery
Half a year after the massive destruction caused by hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still recovering. While the world has moved on to the next tragedy (or back to their normal lives), life in Puerto Rico is far from back to normal. Recovery efforts, although steady, are slow. Basic necessities, such as electricity are still not dependable.
The destruction of hurricane Maria was unfathomable by many and left families feeling hopeless. There was no clear path for recovery.
Recovery teams and organizations coming through, helped provide a vision for rebuilding. Bringing supplies, knowledge, and outside hope, the process of rebuilding began. The community build among neighbors was strong and it was not rare to see neighbors coming together to bring what they have. Seeing strangers on the street asking others if they needed food. However, as time went on things change.
We spoke with Alba Suarez, who described to us the bleak outlook of the community. “After the first shock of Maria passed, people began to come together to rebuild homes and lives. There was lots of joy and helpfulness in the community. As time goes on and things are taking longer and longer to put back together, people are starting to lose hope.” As is evidenced by her own home, where she is currently able to return to, but the power still regularly goes out.
“People are beginning to lose faith that life can be normal again” says Alba. She describes the change in daily interactions as sad and quiet. “Before you used to hear people chatting and laughing in the streets, now when you are waiting in line at the store, people are quiet. They are wondering how they will pay for their groceries.”
The process of rebuilding anything is a difficult one, but it is made significantly easier when there is hope left. However when hope fades, one begins to notice that the hurdles that must be overcome, rather than how far they have come.