Getting down to basics

finally heard from an old friend from Puerto Rico more than three weeks after huuricane Maria blasted the islands back to the stone age. She has a good job in the main city of San Juan working for the US Dept of Commerce NOAA Fisheries and the federal building finally got power, and lo and behold telephone, and internet via an old “antique” 3G hotspot. We were in the middle of an all too rare volley of emails when the storm struck. i had called many times over the interim and emailed a few knowing they would stay on the servers until retrieved. Despite all the coverage on the tube of dire straits Graciela seemed happily content. “We have a few bananas and plantains from the remaining trees in the back, some we eat, some we put by, and some we trade with the neighbors for the things they have. It has continued raining often so we have water from the catchment. We are back to the island living that we always had before. No worries. The fishermen are out of luck with lost gear and little fuel but it gives the fish a rest and a chance to recover some…” What more could one want ?

an old friend said that
she wished to have only
a bowl and a spoon

2 Replies to “Getting down to basics”

  1. The nice thing about a disaster is that for a little bit everything slows way down, as everyone figures out what just happened. I remember the aftermath when Hurricane ‘Iwa hit a glancing blow on Oahu when I was a kid. There was no power for about a week, no school and we had to do odd things like do all our cooking in the yard over a gas burner. And at night we would sit around the small circle of light from candles and a kerosine lamp talking and telling stories. There was an intimacy to our family life that would fade as soon as the power came back on.

  2. Isn’t it amazing how people adapt to change! Not that one would wish for a hurricane to force us to slow down. Kind of like setting your messy house on fire in order to clean it. But it is nice to hear something positive from a person in Puerto Rico. I’m getting very weary of the news media’s incessant focus on negativity.
    One winter day we had an ice storm that took out the power. This was before we installed solar PV energy and back up batteries. Our sons were 8 and 10. We played charades by candle light. When the power came back on by the next night they asked if we could shut off the lights and play charades again. Life can be sweet in the absence of our “necessities”.

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