This week I am working to get a chicken stew recipe my mom and I did before she left to go back home to Puerto Rico. Before I finish that post, I wanted to share today a bit of my experience letting my mom go to a Puerto Rico we no longer know what to expect.
I want to be positive and strong to encourage and support my family, which still lives in Puerto Rico. We are from Caguas and if you google Caguas and Huracán Maria you will see why my apprehension. I understand her desire to go back, help, be with the rest of our family, and support them as the island is still in pretty bad shape. I would do the same, but feel like I just sent my mother to a war zone… very literal the disaster zone label for Puerto Rico. You may say that’s an exaggeration and I would say… I am Puerto Rican so my DNA has some exaggeration in it. However, I don’t think I am going too far from the reality with this sentiment.
Her bags, which I am praying she won’t try to handle herself, are a whooping 173 lbs, not counting a backpack she has. She took 2 big suitcases, which I hope they don’t land broken, and 1 carry-on suitcase plus the backpack. I am also hoping the suitcases are not slashed open when she goes to the carousel to pick them up in San Juan. I have seen some photos and comments in social media showing the bags broken and the content stolen. In her case, she took back about 5 pieces of clothing. The rest of her luggage is food, water, batteries, and water filters.
This hurricane has gotten out the best of some people and the worst of others. Puerto Ricans are hard-working, supportive, have a strong perseverance and help each other like they have known you forever. Yet, there is a younger underworld crew that has been coming out lately giving a pretty bad reputation to the rest. In this desperate times, some of them are stealing all they can and making this situation a lot worst than what it needs to be. One of my BFFs texted me this morning to tell me that an old lady had been mugged in her house using a broom stick to beat her up… for $300 cash. With the long lines at ATMs and no power for most of the island, people are carrying cash with them and have become targets for the rotten apples that are around.
I hope the news about tech companies going to Puerto Rico and implementing cutting edge technology to help them recover materialize soon. Google balloons are already over the island and improving communications. I hope many of them get to help Puerto Rico, to set a new tone for its future. I know the bankruptcy courts are keeping close tabs of this situation. I know the disaster economy that many have discussed is already at work in many places. Most of all, I hope US Congress is getting a push from their constituents about helping Puerto Rico in a lasting manner, helping Puerto Rico to have a vibrant economy once again. We need the island to be except of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. We need new legislation giving the island the ability to have free trade just like many states do so it is competitive market again. We need more doers and thinkers to represent Puerto Rico in Congress , less politicians and corrupts that only pursue their selfish interest.
How do you stay positive amid so much negativity about Puerto Rico and its current situation? I pray for them, for the island and the future. I pray that ignorance and darkness are replaced with knowledge, understanding and His light.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11