Gabby and Omar

$6,782 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 20 months
Created September 25, 2017
First I'd like to thank all of you who have expressed concern and have asked how you can help.  Here's the current situation with our daughter Gabby and son-in-law Omar in Puerto Rico:

As you all know, Hurricane Maria has devasted their beloved island.  There is still no electricity and there won't be for quite some time (and their generator stopped working), running water is inconsistent, there are long lines for small rations of gas, there's a shortage of food and drinkable water, the roads are damaged, internet service is intermittent, etc.   They are physically well and their home is in tact but their immediate future is of great concern.  

Omar's livelihood is in the tourism industry which is now  on hold until the island is brought back to life.  This could take months.  The container that held much of his equipment was tossed over in the storm and almost everything inside was destroyed, as well as the land he was renting to run his business.  His insurance does not cover loss due to natural disaster so it is a total loss for him.  Not only has his income been erased but he has a business loan that he must continue to pay which just adds more pressure to the situation.  

Gabby's teaching job is also on hold.  The school wants to reopen as soon as possible but I'm not sure how that will work for teachers and students alike who will have to return home to no power each day.  Only time will tell. 

Although they are being brave and taking it one day at a time trying to make the best of things, their loss of income is daunting and they are emotionally drained.  Whether they leave the island or stay there during recovery their income will take a big hit.  

Many people have have asked how they can help. The only thing we can think of is to send them money for food, supplies, the expenses they have and will continue to incur,  and their plane tickets if they decide to come home.   Asking for money was not our initial thought and I have been waiting to see what unfolds, but the situation is dire and it's all we can do right now.  

Thank you in advance for anything you are able to do.  We appreciate your love and ask you to keep Omar and Gabby in your prayers.
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I just read this post from Gabby. Thank you all for your love and support. The help keeps coming each day through each of you. We so appreciate every little bit!

Gabby writes:

It’s been five weeks since Irma, three since Maria. Five without electricity. Irma didn’t hit us, but our infrastructure is weak, so just a passing-by did us no good. Maria nos terminó de descabronar. This is the biggest disaster of our time. We’ve stopped using Georges or Hugo as comparisons.

The first two weeks were a joke, the target of criticism of our shotty infrastructure and the topic of complaint. But Maria hit, and no one’s complaining anymore. We can’t complain. We’re lucky to be alive. And anyways, by now we’re used to this.

The week after Maria was eerie and scary, and a lot of other things that are hard to explain. It was the brink of hysteria, which is worse than hysteria, if you ask me. Everyone, even the most calm, holding it together by a thread. We were shut down, cut off, worried if we’d ever eat again or ever get off this island. Three weeks later, we’re finally learning how to breathe again. With so much suffering, it almost feels like electricity is the least of our worries.

In three weeks not much has changed, except that now we can pay with a card and get gas without waiting over 5 hours. Otherwise, the grocery stores are still scarce and chaotic, businesses still can’t open their doors, people are still unemployed and wondering how they’ll afford tomorrow, and the stress, exhaustion, and desperation don’t seem to fade. That’s just in the capital, though. Por ahi, por la isla, la cosa está peor. Their houses have been destroyed and they don’t have food or water. In the south, they haven’t received any help or even heard of FEMA. Older people are dying because they’re stuck in their flooded homes or lacking basic amenities. One man hanged himself when he couldn’t bare having lost everything and being helpless to his suffering family.

We’re not OK, and feeling not OK also makes us feel guilty. It’s psychological, it’s emotional, and for a lot of us it’s tangible, too. If you ask someone how they are they respond, “Alive, thank God.” But they never say, “Good.”

Few things I’ve loved more than I love this island. No other place have I ever felt at home. And despite the despair, somehow I’m glad that I can be right here with you. Vamos p’arriba, Puerto Rico. Siempre voy a ti.

Again, thanks to each of you. Check your emails for our notes of thanks to you personally. Love always heals.
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Well, Gabby's school started back up yesterday so she never took the flight home. (Spirit did refund the ticket for me.) It's her job and she's loyal and it does provide a steady income so she couldn't say no. No a/c so everyone in the building is hot, the children are fatigued, it's not the best learning environment but.....if they don't start back up then they'll have to make up more days and they'll be going to school til July! And it's better than sitting around doing nothing for sure.
I got to FaceTime with her today and she looks good. Omar found a job for the week, locating each community's garbage drop off for the things that were damaged, and relaying that info so it can all be picked up by the city. $10/hr. It's something. They have a list of things that they need to make the situation more bearable so we're working on that. If the post office is up and running then she can order most of it online and have it shipped. If not then we may send Alfonso with suitcases full of what they need. Her biggest request is a generator so they can get their fridge running again. If they want fresh food they buy it and eat it the same day, otherwise, it's pasta or canned tuna but there is food to be bought. She wants a Big generator so she can share it with her neighbors and let them plug in too. San Juan is in much better shape than the inland communities and her neighborhood is full of friends who help each other out. One day at a time.
Thank you all so much and thank you from Gabby and Omar too! Thank you to our friends, our family, our acquaintances and to those we don't even know. Thank you for allowing God to work through your hearts and your hands in whatever way you can. And please don't feel bad if you can't give anything other than your love and prayers because love and prayers is where all this starts! We appreciate each of you and are filled with gratitude beyond explanation.
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Thank you so much for the love and support for Gabby and Omar, both the large and the small, the dollars and the prayers, because it all counts. She posted an update and a thanks on FB this morning when she found a signal. She is overwhelmed with gratitude. They are fine but emotionally exhausted for sure.
We got a ticket for Gabby to come home to Florida on Monday 10/02 and that was the earliest I could get. Then we got a ticket for Omar (after he realized that there was nothing he could do there at the moment) and Yoshi the dog on 10/11, also the earliest we could grab. I'm hoping that once the airport fully opens and they increase the amount of flights out we can find him a seat on an earlier flight. They really need to get here, to regroup and rest and figure out what's next. It's an ongoing tragedy and there are no immediate answers but being here with friends and family and some comfort and security will bring them some peace and the answers will come.
I am brought to tears by the love and support received so far. People are sharing this and reaching circles of friends that I can't. Thank you so much. Keep praying for their peace and security. Omar is pretty devastated but I know he will rise above this and I know God will give them a new beginning on a new journey that will be awesome! And I pray that you also will be blessed.
I really love you guys! Thanks! Susan and Alfonso
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$6,782 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 20 months
Created September 25, 2017
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