The following excerpts are snippets of Hurricane Maria journal entries written by Sarah Joy, one of our team members in our campaign for Positive Regeneration for Puerto Rico.
She share her raw emotions, current state of Ponce and San Juan, and her positivity amidst the struggles she faces. Journal entry 1 starts off from the night before Hurricane Maria hit.
To read her full blog entries, please visit her page here.
The journal will be continuously updated as Sarah Joy writes more content about her personal experience post-Hurricane Maria.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
“As we sleep (hopefully restfully) tonight, Maria’s eye will begin to move across the island. I am not fearful. I knew in April that I would be back here soon. I knew a couple months later that I needed to be here for an extended period. And* I knew that when the first reports of a hurricane came and people started asking when I was coming home, I was already home.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Thursday, September 21, 2017
“The Silent Storm
Friday, September 22, 2017
“Toño spent most of the morning chopping up the avocado trees with a machete. ¡Pobre árboles!
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
“It has been one long silent week.
Friday, September 28, 2017
Saturday, September 30, 2017 & Sunday, October 1, 2017
“Last Night in Ponce
“At 7 am Monday morning, October 2nd, Denise’s friend Aimet came to gather me and my belongings to make the trip up to San Juan.
I thanked Millie and Tonio for opening their arms and home to me during this tumultuous time, said “hasta luego,” and got in the van. Aimet’s two nephews, son and his new puppy joined us. Her reason for visiting San Juan that morning was to take the puppy for a specialist vet visit.
The first interesting thing I noticed as we drove was the Iguanas. Hundreds of them covered trees limb to limb, as they basked in the morning light. Then I started to realize just how widespread the devastation was to the trees. It looked as if the monsters from that arcade game Rampage had thrown a dance party.
We passed fields of Papaya, Plantain, Coffee and other crops, most of which looked to now have few plants that would make it to maturity. While it hurt my heart to see, I also hoped this would bring more attention to how important agriculture is for the island.”
“I am writing from one of my favorite places in Puerto Rico… the inside of a hammock. The sun is setting and soon we return to “vida sin luz.” Finding our way using flashlights, listening to the now familiar sound of generators humming, and eating dinner by candlelight.
It gets dark early here, it’s 6:23 on Wednesday and when I went inside to do something I’d forgot, the flashlight was handy. We are very lucky, Yuri’s next door neighbor runs a generator at night and generously extends a cord over for our use.
Despite the war against the tiny terrorists (mosquitos,) battle to save our produce against the jaws of the rat sized mouse, and missing the sound of music… I feel better today than I have in a while. I spoke with Bryan on the phone this afternoon and he said “You sound more you.” I feel more me.
Maybe one upside to not having music to listen to is that I can’t stop singing or thinking about these songs I’ve started to write. Even though I’m not intentionally writing pieces about the hurricane experience yet, subconsciously some of my lyrics are reflecting on it. ”
“It is Friday, 10:41 pm. I was sleeping soundly two minutes ago. I’m not a squeamish person. I like animals and insects, bees don’t bother me, mice don’t make me scream… UNLESS THEY ARE CRAWLING ON TOP OF ME!
I felt a disturbance near my feet, woke up and realized the mouse was scurrying up the sheet covering my legs. I shook my uninvited bedfellow off, let out an audible cry of distress and quietly called out to one of the guard dogs on duty. He is now on patrol.
The last two days have been a whirlwind of mostly mental activity and lots of communication. Considering the previous two weeks of almost total silence, I am finding it more difficult to be in constant contact. Hopefully I will find a way to balance this aspect of modern life.”
” We scanned Kmart for water, none on the shelves where the water should be. Further down, gleaming like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, was a one gallon jug of water, just sitting on the bottom of an end cap. Yuri asked around to make sure no one else had claimed it. There happened to be another gallon in a box right next to the jug, success!
When we went up to pay there was a bit of frustration as only one gallon per customer was allowed. In hindsight I should have just grabbed one and waited in line but we didn’t know. After a bit of discussion we were allowed to purchase both, and quickly left.
We made our way to Costco, waited 20 mins in line in the car to get into the parking lot and another 10 minutes in the line to enter the store.
We saw many people leaving with carts containing two large packets of bottled water. Surely if they’re allowing 2 per person they have plenty of water, I thought. Once inside we found the next line, to wait to put water in our cart. I stood in that line while Yuri darted around grabbing produce. After about 5 minutes a lady with an empty cart announced “no hay agua,” there is no water.”
“It’s easy to get caught up in the suffering. All around there is destruction, death and disease. It will not be going away anytime soon and is not confined to this island.
I had started to spiral into a state of panic. Alarmed by all I’ve seen and becoming desperate to show the whole world what is happening. The Heavy began to weigh on my heart.
Luckily, I am blessed with friends and family who kindly remind me that suffering leads to fear and then I think of Yoda, who reminds me that fear is the path to the dark side.
Over the past couple days I have felt grateful to utilize my skills assisting others with their very meaningful and noble endeavors. I have made new friends, rekindled my passion for photojournalism and editing, and taken some of the load off the shoulders of very busy people. But I must remember that this is not where I am to focus the majority of my energy.”
It has been almost a month since hurricane Maria. Less than 15% of the electrical grid has been re-established. This means a large number of businesses are not operating. Many people have lost their jobs, or they’re unable to work. Many businesses which are open rely on generators, and these are expensive to run. The people who are able to go to work have commutes that are now 3 to 4 times longer, due to the lack of working traffic signals. There are fewer than 70 hospitals operating–and only 44 of them have power.