line for water after hurricane maria

day 9 of the aftermath

(Below is an update I drafted for friends and family while waiting for an internet connection)

I imagine there are crews working 12 hour shifts to repair the massive devastation left in Maria’s wake. However, here on the ground, in the part of Puerto Rico we call home, there is precious little tangible evidence of progress.  The lines to get water, groceries, cash, and gas are getting longer.  One neighbor waited 8 hours to get gas.  Another, 14.  Want ice?  Forget about it.  A neighbor’s landline that worked last weekend has since gone dead.  I loiter for hours daily at nearby restaurant El Galeón, ready to jump online if their Claro connection miraculously goes up for a few minutes.  Yesterday, it never came up.

The optimists, of which I count myself, think that things will be back to normal in a few days or weeks.  I think just having cell service restored will provide a huge positive snowball effect in so many other areas.  You don’t fully appreciate how fundamental the ability to communicate is until you can’t anymore.

On the other hand, the pesimists think it will take months or even years.  At this point, it’s hard to muster the energy to disagree. This is a miserable existence, not to mention completely unsustainable.  (I’ve been wearing the same shirt for six days because we can’t readily wash clothes)  So as insurance, I bought the first somewhat reasonably priced ticket I could find to get my family out of here; Oct 11.

If the optimists are right I can reschedule the flight for a family vacation next summer.  If the pessimists are right, well, all we have to do is dig in and get through the next 12 days…


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