Meeting God on the Mountain Top

On the heels of Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria overtook the island of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. The road to recovery is long, and many of the island’s residents are still without water and power.  Imagine having no water or power well into a 3rd month!

My husband Gene, my sister Carla and I embarked on a trip to the island in early November to take relief supplies and ascertain needs "on the ground." Through word of mouth with families and friends, we were able to raise close to $8,000 to go toward relief supplies. During our time there, we delivered supplies for a nursing home (Santa Teresa de Jornet), visited the Marianist High School (Colegio San José) to deliver money for a scholarship fund and better learn of their needs, and met with Episcopal Bishop Rafael Morales and his staff about possible short and long-term projects.  

That meeting led us to… los barrios Indieras, el 30 de Maricao, and el barrio Bartolo (towns of Maricao & Lares) and their respective churches. The 4 Episcopal churches we are looking to help are La Epifanía, San Bartolomé, La Transfiguración, and Santa Cruz.  We are now ready for the next steps in this labor of love.  Our project named Meeting God On The Mountain Topwill be comprised of the following:

1. Facilitating the purchase, delivery, and "assembling" of 150 water filtration systems for families in those areas to be able to access safe, drinking water.  On the island, even households with water are on a boiling warning, while others are relying on rivers and streams (one donor has already stepped up to help fund many of the units!)

2. In the spirit of Christmas, we will host a Tres Reyes party for all 4 parishes/missions and the larger community.  To that end, we will purchase and deliver 450-500 gifts for children and adults.  Additionally, the priests, Padre Carlos and Padre Edwin, will ensure the contacts for a great celebration that day to include an appearance by the Magi on horseback, carnival booths for the kids, as well as lechón and other yummy foods.  The 5 cousins leading this effort (Rosalind, Norma, Carla, Natja & Carlos) are doing this in honor of the amazing role models we have had in our lives, including our maternal great uncle, Erasmo, who for decades held a similar event on his finca in Guaraguo, between Ponce & Adjuntas. We all served as elf wrappers at some point, and owe so much of who we are and our generous spirit to him and all our grandparents and great aunts and uncles. 

3. These communities are very isolated and may not have power or water for months.  A dream of ours is to see the church buildings serve as community centers for parishioners and other community members alike. To do this, the buildings need power at night, and water for basic needs, such as bathrooms. To help facilitate this, we are beginning the process of looking to outfit each building with power (preferable solar) as well as cisterns/water catchment systems. We have a childhood friend who is an engineering professor and expert in sustainability whom we hope can help finish outlining the scope of that part of the project. 

4. Shipping, delivery, and overall logistics for all the above.  As you may have heard, Puerto Rico is an island in the middle of a big ocean- and politics aside, faces unusual difficulties in getting needed items to those who can most benefit. 

We will continue to add pictures and updates on how plans and logistics are going.  Norma is in PR and the rest of us will be there at some point in these next 3 months. We will personally oversee the projects at different stages.

To donate, you can use this site or reach out to any of us for Paypal or address information.

Rosalind & Gene Alderman, [email redacted] 
Norma Guzman, [email redacted] 
Carla Roland, [email redacted]  
Natja Guzmán & José Rodriguez, [email redacted] 
Carlos Guzmán & Jim Kirby, [email redacted], [email redacted]

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Rosalind V. Alderman 
San Antonio, TX
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