Thank you to Vitaly for taking a suitcase on his recent trip to Puerto Rico! [NJT Toronto]
“The adventures were mostly on the flight out. VERY bumpy airplane ride, some cancelled connections and a few short hours of sleep on an unplanned overnight in an airport hotel. Puerto Rico itself is a wonderful place with very friendly people. Every type of traveler will surely find something interesting to do there.
The hurricane damage is being brought into control as quickly as possible and the many places we’ve visited across the country were functioning quite well. Having said that you can tell the territory suffered a lot. Some locations are still without electricity 6 months later, running water is sometimes of unknown quality, there are downed power lines everywhere, some mountain roads are washed out by mudslides, people who lost houses (without insurance) living with relatives and friends, agriculture heavily damaged so even bananas and oranges are imported and expensive, etc.
Due to some timing challenges we’ve delivered the suitcase to the volunteers at Casa Pueblo rather than directly to a field hospital. It’s a community organization in the Puerto Rico rainforest town of Adjuntas. The town has been hit *very* hard by Hurricane Maria. For a long time it was without light and people aggregated at Casa Pueblo to power their oxygen machines and supply other basic life / medical needs. The organization continues to coordinate relief efforts and has connections to many other organizations in the community. There is a lot more information at http://casapueblo.org/ and there is an interesting article in English at https://theintercept.com/…/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-reco… which originally introduced me to the place.
Adding the suitcase to that was not a big deal at all. We rented a car for the trip to the interior and took the suitcase with us there. We live a very comfortable life in Toronto and it’s rewarding to be able to share some life necessities such as these medical supplies with those who are less fortunate. We are very grateful to the organizations and individuals who contributed the supplies and to the NJT volunteers who packed everything!