The sound of the wind was deafening. My ears rang as I stroked my dog’s fur, hoping to keep her calm. We were all together in one room, listening to the only radio station that was working and wondering if we had lost anything.
This house is the only home I’ve ever had. I was born and raised in this neighborhood, everyone in my street knows who I am and we have helped one another throughout the years. The thought of having to leave this place to seek refuge somewhere else was unbearable… but we were prepared for the worst.
For the next couple of hours all we heard were trees falling, roofs made out of zinc blowing away, and loud bangs. We tried to decipher what each noise was and prayed that there weren’t any major damages on our home. That’s all we did: pray, listen to the radio, and wait.
Once the hurricane passed my hometown, it was time to look at what was left. Thankfully no one in my neighborhood lost their homes, but the fallen trees blocked entrances, destroyed roofs, and blocked our streets. People worked together to create small paths, to have at least somewhere safe to walk around, but seeing so much destruction has left us broken-hearted.
Luckily we only lost a couple of things (a small zinc roof, plantain trees, a couple of lamps, a decoration we have on our walls, and our curtains), but my family and I have found at least one thing to be grateful for every single day after the whole ordeal. Whether it was a hot plate of food or the rain that cools us off, we were (and are) grateful to be alive.
Of course, I am not going to sugar coat anything. There is a lot of chaos and destruction and this is going to affect the mental health of the islanders. Hundreds of people have lost their homes, others have passed away and are buried in their backyards, people in this country are starving and they’re also thirsty. I have never seen anything quite like this before, and seeing so many people suffering just breaks my heart.
I am lucky to live close to a hospital, a handful of restaurants that opened their doors the day after the hurricane, to still have a landline to talk to my loved ones, to have people that worry about me and my family. I have not starved nor have been thirsty; I have everything I need and some areas that are close to where I live finally have electricity so I can charge my phone and write to you.
But not everyone lives in my neighborhood or in the city. Mothers are starving so their children can eat. People are losing their loved ones because they cannot get their medicine and are burying them in their backyards. The supermarkets are basically empty, the hospitals still don’t have electricity, people are stealing whatever they can get their hands on because we are desperate.
I have not seen the help we were promised.
I usually refuse to talk about politics, but when the President of the United States throws toilet paper to my fellow islanders and cringed at the thought of us drinking dirty water and doesn’t do anything about it, I knew it was time for me to speak up.
Please help our Island in any way you can. And not just Puerto Rico, but those who will and are suffering from the destruction of Nate. Whether it’s donating, sending food/clothes/water/tools, giving Reiki, or praying for us, we need your help.