Rebuilding Puerto Rico
By Andrea Navarro, Advertising Marketing Communications '18
All photos by Andrea Navarro except portrait by Jessica Naissant.
The only rules are drink your water and don’t die.
This was one of the first things my volunteer group was told upon arriving in Puerto Rico for a two-week service trip in August. I was part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative. From June through August, students from SUNY and CUNY schools could volunteer for two weeks with on-site nonprofits for academic credit, a small stipend, and the satisfaction of knowing we did something to help. More than a year after Hurricane Maria, the island is still in shambles. Approximately 3,000 people died, and more than 4,000 homes were damaged. Many people lost their jobs, especially those in the fishing industry. Some people in Naguabo, the town where we spent most of our time working, went as long as three months without grid power or safe drinking water.