Daily Archives: October 5, 2017

Weathering the Storm and After

Posted by Cassie

A man from the Puerto Rico Telephone Company personally came out to find us and make sure we were ok!

Wow, where to begin. I suppose right here, right now. We are again at a little hot spot with Wifi. It’s a liquor store called Bonet and the loud hum of the generator reminds us of the state we are still in. There are hopeful signs all around that the system is booting up! I see people buying bags of ice; something unheard of in the last two weeks.

The lines to the gas stations have gone from kilometers long with 12 hour waits down to a line of about 5 cars and 20 minutes. We now feel a little more mobile. When you are uncertain if you can fill your car or your generator you tend to want to stay at home. Part of the reason many people didn’t hear from us for so long. The cell phones are starting to work and we saw the energy company for the first time in Rincon. But we are still in for a long haul before everything is restored. I take these little improvements as little joys.

Cabin from above
We can now see the wooden house from the other side of the property!

We passed the storm in the wooden house. There were a few moments that we didn’t know if that was the best decision, but by then it was too late to change our minds. Thankfully, we experienced no damage to the wooden house though we lost many, many trees and hearing them crack and creak all around us for the long 24-28 hours of howling wind and rain was enough to fray the nerves.

All we know

Throughout the storm we had absolutely no news. We listened to the one radio channel that was broadcasting throughout the storm, but they had no info either. We tried to recall the last information that we had seen before the storm started in order to calculate when it would be over. When the winds turned to the west we figured the storm was leaving the island. It was an endurance test. In fact, it still is an endurance test!

Britton Binoculars
Britton watching the destruction all around as it occurred

The worst of the damage was the complete destruction of the chicken coop. Those poor chickens were inside when a humongous tree fell over and one fell directly on the coop. But they lived!!

Chicken Coop RemnantsThe chicken coop is completely destroyed!

Sad chicken
Sad chicken

But just as I thought, the worst part of the storm is the aftermath. It has been hard to live without electricity, water, internet or cell phones. When the storm first happened, we couldn’t even leave the neighborhood because of the vast amount of trees that had fallen on the roads and on the power lines. If I had any power in Puerto Rico I would say BURY THE POWER lines! The roads were cleaned up within about 3 days, but the power lines will take a long time to repair. The power is needed for the cell phone towers as well as the water pumps, so everything goes back to energy. Thankfully we have a generator, a cistern and a safe place to stay. But we couldn’t get a hold of anyone back in the states. We were completely cut off from all communication. We went back to the tried and true: face to face connection!

Electrical Pole
A down pole in Stella

We left the property on the Saturday after to check out the damage and check in with some friends. We also had some great friends come and check on us! This is the time of the best and worst of humanity. Helpful hands and some exploitive ones too. Resources have become very important.

Water refill stationFEMA, Homeland Security and other branches are coordinating for things like generators and potable water

Where is the water? Where is the gasoline? Does anyone have power? A satellite phone? Are any banks open? Cash is king! And then there is the discomfort of extended camping conditions. It is very uncomfortable because we don’t even have fans. Britton has resorted to sleeping on the tile floors in order to try and stay somewhat cool. Warm food and cold drinks are huge luxuries.

Cooling down at night
Britton with the lantern and bug spray

Playing music on porch2
Trying to stay sane. Our days include chopping up trees, playing rummy and music on the porch

La Cambija Water supplyPeople gathering non-potable water from a natural spring in order to flush toilets, shower or washFila line for gas

Smooshed food shackA friend’s food shack got completely squished under a tree!

Rincon Down Town sign
Rincon used to be the mejor lugar para vivir….but now needs some work!

House gone


Chopping the travel palm

The internet is sort of blipping in and out right now as more people come to connect to the wifi so I better leave it at that. I have a few videos I will also try to upload in the upcoming days. We are doing well considering. We feel tough! I think we are much more prepared to go on the TV show Survivor now!

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