I have just returned from Ciales with lots of news!!

First – THANKS! to all who donated to Phase I of the #PrendeCiales campaign.  In the span of a couple weeks I was able to raise almost $2500!!!  The people of La Calle Morovis in Ciales thank you too!  The incredible generosity and response to #PrendeCiales went way beyond anything I expected.

With this money I was able to purchase 5 water filtration systems, a suitcase full of much needed medical supplies and a complete 50w Solar Panel Kit (panel, charge controller, battery and inverter).  After some starts and stops we were able to get the solar panel system up and running and installed it for Doña Margarita Cruz Miranda, an elderly neighbor who is bedridden.  Margarita has difficulty speaking but her face lit up once we got a fan going for her.  You can see her and her son who cares for her 24 hours a day right here:   

I also purchased 84 solar lanterns that were distributed to over 50 households on La Calle Morovis.  The solar lanterns have been a huge help – they charge easily during the day and are bright enough to light up an entire room at night. I plan to send an additional 45 this week along with tarps for families who have lost their roofs. I was also able to distribute basic medical supplies and water purification tablets to over 15 households.  Lastly, this trip allowed me to bring supplies and support to the families of other Puerto Rican Emory students.

This leaves #PrendeCiales with minimal funds to begin PHASE II!  

During my time in Ciales we -- Papi and my cousin Luisito -- invited a core group to a community meeting.  Together we assembled the solar panel system so they could see first-hand how it’s done. We learned from them that in Ciales people need access to power more than they need water filtration systems.

We now have our on-the-ground team in PR ready for #PrendeCiales PHASE II and are looking to outfit 10 families with 100w solar panel kits!  Power will not be completely restored on the island for months.  Currently over 80% of the island is still in the dark.  

You can see the team’s enthusiasm here:

Each solar kit costs ~ $550 a piece, which includes panels, charge controller, deep cycle battery, inverter, mounting kit, and shipping. Therefore, we need to raise at least $5500 more. Any donations received beyond that target will go towards whatever seems to be the greatest need in the neighborhood -- food, transportation to doctors, more solar systems etc. Both my parents will be in Ciales late November to check on the family and ensure that the Calle Morovis “go-to” team is managing okay.

If you would like to see more photos and videos of our trip, I have updated our FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/prendeciales

Please do what you can to help – whether it is with #PrendeCiales or through other organizations. The people of Puerto Rico need our help. Puerto Rico Se Levanta!

Taína Figueroa

PhD Candidate | Department of Philosophy
Pre-Doctoral Fellow | James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference
Emory University
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Taina Figueroa 
Atlanta, GA
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