Category Archives: Puerto Rico

My Heart is in Puerto Rico

My kids are half Puerto Rican. I think a lot of people who know me forget that. They forget that regardless of what happens with their father that Puerto Rico is like my second home. I remember the first trip I took there – I fell in love instantly.  I often think that deep down I was truly meant to be Puerto Rican or Cuban or some mix of both. I never felt comfortable in the “white” world. Perhaps it was growing up in an overtly racist town or that everything was very bland. I was always drawn to Latin/Hispanic culture.

Right now, my heart is in Puerto Rico. I don’t really have fancy photos to show. I will post a couple here but they are from a long time ago when all I did was take photos with a crappy camera or phone. It has been a long time since I have been to the island. Life just gets busy and then there was the big Zika scare so that canceled one trip.

Most people go to Puerto Rico and they stay in a resort and never leave San Juan or Old San Juan except maybe to visit El Yunque (the only rain forest in the United States). They don’t take time to travel to the inner part of the island where everything is lush and green. Tropical plants sprawl across the sides of mountains the life is still very simple.  Not everyone can afford to build their house out of cement. And if you’ve seen any photos of the island you can imagine what a house made of wood would look like today. The wind was so strong it demolished wind turbines and solar farms. It destroyed cell towers and no one has power.

And here I sit in my comfortable office while I wait and wonder if one of my closest friends is okay. If his house survived. If his parents are okay. I wonder if the kids’ aunt and uncle are still ok and if the roof ever blew off of their car port. I wonder about the relatives in the “jungle” as we call it are okay. Some of them are older and on the side of a mountain. I worry about mudslides. I look at the photos of the devastation and tears just come out of my eyes. I saw a photo of where we own a timeshare. Totally flooded. It is right on the beach.

Everything in me says I should go and help. I can’t, of course. My responsibilities here are too much. I don’t have the vacation time and my kids need me. So I wait. And worry. And wonder.

I urge you to donate. If you’re reading and you feel like, “Ugh… just another tragic event that needs money.” you’re right. It is. And more will be coming. It is inevitable that hurricanes will just get worse. It is inevitable that there will be more earthquakes. Tornadoes. Anything dealing with weather due to climate change. But we are required to help our fellow human beings. I feel that deep down. I have never understood the fight against helping others whether it is via welfare, food stamps, insurance for all, or any other option there is that makes those who have much help those who have little.

If you’d like to donate, I would recommend http://www.hispanicfederation.org/donate

You can select Hurricane Relief from the drop-down. They have been vetted and found worthy.  I urge you not to give to the Red Cross. I think that’s common knowledge. Please focus on a group that will work directly in Puerto Rico. It is estimated that they have $30 billion dollars in damage. And also remember people can’t go to work. They may no longer have a job to go to if the business was wiped out. Or maybe the store will be closed for repairs. People will need help. So please, give.  Look for a donation center in your city – many are popping up. You can also drop off supplies if you don’t want to give money.

Thank you for reading.

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