Five Weeks After Hurricane María
In theory, home is supposed to be one of the places where you feel safest. The reality is that during a category 5 hurricane, not even the strongest places feel safe. Living in the Caribbean, we’re used to dealing with hurricanes, but nothing prepared us for the sheer power this storm had.
Hi there, I’m Ashley, and I am one of the many Puerto Ricans who was on the island when Hurricane María struck.
If you ask anyone on the island about their hurricane María stories, the one thing they’ll recount the most was the sound of the wind. They’ll bring it to life, describing the howls the 155mph winds would make, comparing it to what a monster would sound like… and the destruction it left behind.
Driving around after the hurricane was just as bad as that night itself. The lush green scenery we would take for granted was replaced by broken, bare trees. Hundred-year-old trees torn from the ground effortlessly. Where wooden houses stood, piles of rubble now took their place. Those who still stood, their missing roofs could be found a few houses over, or at times, a few blocks away. Floods from the massive amounts of rain and overflowing rivers damaged what the wind hadn’t touched.
I (and many other Puerto Ricans) didn't have electricity and water service for months, this had made it hard for me to work from the island. Michael and Brian had to fill in for me while I wasn’t able to work. They were even nice enough to get me a plane ticket to stay with friends for some time!
The process of getting back on our feet is going slower than what we had hoped because of politics and the amount of damage we faced. It is expected that by December 95% of electricity on the island should be restored.
There’s no place like home. As I write this, I may not be in my beautiful island, but I stand with my people.