I’m waiting for the hot water to come on. After ten minutes it doesn’t come on and I give up frustrated, exhausted and go to bed. I wake up the next morning immediately irritated with my situation. The landlord tells me it will be fixed in a day or two. Somehow it doesn’t seem fast enough.
This was just one day. Imagine this happening every day for three months in addition to having no electricity, fixing the damage to your property, taking care of your family and continuing to try and run your business. I talked to a man who was fortunate to have a small generator but was only able to run the AC needed so he could sleep through the nights. He couldn’t run hot water or other electricity. As he told the story he paused and told us, you can only take so many cold showers before it starts to mess with your head. He had read about a small heater that you could attach to your showerhead and run on electricity. He ordered it and using his small generator he was able to get enough power to run the heater. It was one of the best feelings he had experienced in months. A single hot shower.
When I first think of being without power, I think of things like not being able to charge my phone or use my electronics but it is the most basic things that affect us the most, hot water to shower, light in the middle of the night, a stove to heat or cook a hot meal, a refrigerator to keep food. Imagine being without those basic needs for a few days or even a few weeks. Then imagine feeling that way for several months with no clear indication of when they will return again.
This wasn’t my first time in Puerto Rico but it was definitely my most meaningful visit. After spending the last five days there I cannot wait to come back with family and friends. If you’re wondering how to support Puerto Rico, one of the best ways is to come visit. While they are still working to put things back together (and there is still a lot to do) they are here and excited to welcome tourists.
Power is up in some areas and they are running as much as possible using generators to power their bars and restaurants where there is no power. The island is still full of life that they want to share with visitors. Come wander the beautiful street art of Santurce, eat, drink and dance your way through San Juan or swim or surf on the beach.
Tourism will be a huge factor in helping them get back on their feet. If anyone has any questions about visiting Puerto Rico please feel free to reach out to me.