"It’s been five weeks since Irma, three since Maria. Five without electricity. Irma didn’t hit us, but our infrastructure is weak, so just a passing-by did us no good. Maria nos terminó de descabronar. This is the biggest disaster of our time. We’ve stopped using Georges or Hugo as comparisons.
The first two weeks were a joke, the target of criticism of our shotty infrastructure and the topic of complaint. But Maria hit, and no one’s complaining anymore. We can’t complain. We’re lucky to be alive. And anyways, by now we’re used to this.
The week after Maria was eerie and scary, and a lot of other things that are hard to explain. It was the brink of hysteria, which is worse than hysteria, if you ask me. Everyone, even the most calm, holding it together by a thread. We were shut down, cut off, worried if we’d ever eat again or ever get off this island. Three weeks later, we’re finally learning how to breathe again. With so much suffering, it almost feels like electricity is the least of our worries.
In three weeks not much has changed, except that now we can pay with a card and get gas without waiting over 5 hours. Otherwise, the grocery stores are still scarce and chaotic, businesses still can’t open their doors, people are still unemployed and wondering how they’ll afford tomorrow, and the stress, exhaustion, and desperation don’t seem to fade. That’s just in the capital, though. Por ahi, por la isla, la cosa está peor. Their houses have been destroyed and they don’t have food or water. In the south, they haven’t received any help or even heard of FEMA. Older people are dying because they’re stuck in their flooded homes or lacking basic amenities. One man hanged himself when he couldn’t bare having lost everything and being helpless to his suffering family.
We’re not OK, and feeling not OK also makes us feel guilty. It’s psychological, it’s emotional, and for a lot of us it’s tangible, too. If you ask someone how they are they respond, “Alive, thank God.” But they never say, “Good.”
Few things I’ve loved more than I love this island. No other place have I ever felt at home. And despite the despair, somehow I’m glad that I can be right here with you. Vamos p’arriba, Puerto Rico. Siempre voy a ti."
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