Help Get Power to an Utuado Farm

My cousins, like too many in Puerto Rico, have been without electricity since Hurricane Maria hit three months ago. They are past needing a generator but I finally got them to say so...

With her husband Tito, my cousin Lourdes lives on their small subsistence farm atop one of the highest peaks in La Cordillera Central in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Although it is a most unworldly beautiful place, it has the recent distinction of being the last place on the island that FEMA went. But as is the case with too many others not in the tourist area where the rainbow above appeared, FEMA never got to my family. Making it sublime joy when yesterday morning we had our first conversation lasting more than 15 seconds. (Imagine lining up for a parking spot on the shoulder of a major road in order to achieve cell service. Some of you may know Rt 2 on the west coast?) So it took them 10 days and most of the money they had to manage some semblance of a road to get off the mountain and take some roots to family in the Mayaguez and San Juan areas. They count their blessings that they have water filters and have otherewise engineered ways to get potable water, thanks in large part to the loving generosity of some of my closest friends, as well as the rainy season. They see it as a blessing that their children and grandchildren are already finding jobs and are enrolled in schools in their new home of Kenosha WI (and that they got to keep, for now, the grandchild that wants to graduate with her high school class in Arecibo). There was palpable pride in Lourdes' voice from having heard the youngest already counting to 10 in English, after they assured the child that they hope to visit next summer (perhaps constituting the only motivation capable of producing their maiden voyage off the island). They see it as a blessing that they can help others less fortunate through their work with their church. They are hopeful that some of their coffee plants still have juice but can't tell viability until the rain stops and can't plant until at least the Spring. A mal tiempo buena cara translates to putting on a good face when things are bad. I had to pull it out of them that their little gas-powered generator died, as well as the steps that they have to take to get fresh food daily. Thank you and Lourdes' favorite refrain, Que Dios te bendiga for reading this far because that's what we're doing here. It's a succinct version of a true story that I thought you might appreciate hearing. They need a decent generator and some cash. They have no power other than a variety of small solar and battery-operated bulbs and camplights. Given their location, they are likely to be without electricity for the  foreseeable future.


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Vivian G. 
Cassadaga, NY
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