(Editor’s Note: Janet and Scott Daughtry, long-time members of the N.C. Baptist Mens Recovery Team, are in Puerto Rico helping hurricane victims.
This is a letter from the Daughtrys explaining what they are encountering as they work.)
Good morning from Sunny Puerto Rico…where the weather is hot, the water is warm, the people are friendly and the mosquitoes are hungry.
We are learning to live in a post-electric world. Life without lights, potable water, microwave, refrigerator, credit cards, washing machine, no traffic lights, no WiFi…Kinda like our great grandparents.
We are living in the office area of the oldest Baptist church in San Juan, Primera Iglesias Bautista Rio de Piedras, established in 1899.
It is in the heart of an old area near the University. I am not used to intercity living…. All buildings covered with amazing graffiti, homeless people on the streets, everything even inside our building is behind gates and/or under lock and key.
We have a security guard. It is a dynamic church with an inspirational and inspiring female Pastor, Laura.
The church has opened its arms to us and treat us like family.
First Baptist Rio de Piedras and its collective of volunteers from all around, including University students, has been cooking and preparing the noon meal for over 350 every week day since the storms.
Donated food stuffs are bagged and delivered along with a hot meal to over 300 each day.
They share these meals and food with us. (Kitchen has no electricity.)
Believe me, it is difficult to cook and clean up by flashlight.
Meals are very creative when you have no refrigeration. When the generator works and has fuel, we have lights and fans and can charge our phones in the evening. The kitchen and dining is not in the generated power area.
Puerto Rico is a modern country/state/territory…not sure which.
Everyone here had electricity, air conditioning, modern conveniences and multiple cars!
Now they are all struggling to live without. About 17 percent of the island electricity may be sporadic. Many thousands have fled the country. The airport is jammed with people.
There are beautiful malls and shopping centers with every store you can name.
Most stores are closed now, which means many are without work.
Only businesses open are the ones who have generator power.
There are long lines that wrap around Walmart, Sam’s Club. Long lines for every ATM…everything is on cash basis now.
Many stores even in the mall operate in the dark…letting in a few customers at a time and writing the transactions on paper.
Open restaurants have very limited menus.
And ice is so rare.
Haven’t had any in a while, even in a restaurant.
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