2017 Life Logs, Day 270: Thinking of JJZ&C
Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Weather: Foggy and Overcast; High 81, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
This day was spent thinking about Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco and trying to figure out if there is anything we can do from here. Heather picked me up at 8:30 am and took me to the Falmouth Hospital Outpatient Surgery unit in North Falmouth for a colonoscopy. That went smoothly and the great news was that I have no polyps. By 11 am I was back home and Heather was on her way to work. Since I had been anesthetized for the procedure, I was told absolutely no driving today. So, Heather said she would go buy chocolate and send it to Ziggy (his request) as a ‘test’ package. Then I started doing my daily checking of Rincon, Puerto Rico, Facebook pages to see if there might be some news. Facebook seems to be the only source of news from that area and today there was new information. A young woman who was able to get out of San Juan on a plane on Tuesday posted her experience and an up-date on what’s happening in Rincon. She talked about the destruction in certain areas of the town, mostly on the water. (Justin and Jo live a litte inland in the hills to the east of town.) Then she shared that on Monday in Rincon all business transactions were cash only and there was only one bank open allowing a limited $100 withdrawal per person per day . . . with very long lines. She also said she thought the US Postal Service was going to start operating soon in certain post offices and Mayaguez, about 15 miles south of Rincon, is one of them. So, our little test package we sent today might not reach Justin and Jo because we sent it to Rincon. I have lots of other supplies I want to send, but I dare not until I am sure they will get through. Then the young woman shared her experience of getting from Rincon to San Juan to fly out. I think you mind find the experience enlightening, so I will copy her words here.
“I was due to fly to Chicago on Monday for work, but because we did not have any landline or cell service, Richard and I decided to drive to Aguadilla airport, rent a car and drive to San Juan as we learned from the one radio station that 10 flights will be arriving and departing from Monday. Not really comprehending the extend of this all, we took the road to San Juan on Monday morning. It was pure destruction everywhere and people were getting desperate for basic necessities on day 5, especially gas and the lines stretched for miles on the number 2. We managed to get ATT reception from Dorado and contacted our families who of course were besides themselves by then as we could not get word out to them. The airport is badly damaged – the radar on the control tower is out, the one wing (terminal) where Delta, Southwest, United etc. departs and the Cape Air terminal area are completely closed off due to roof and water damage and the jet bridges are also badly damaged. I was booked on a United flight but they informed us that all flights are cancelled till at least this coming weekend, but they do operate one humanitarian flight a day. Delta was selling tickets but that was only for flights in 4 weeks’ time and there are NO hotels operating in San Juan. We decided to fall in line for the United flight. We spend the night on the airport floor with about 500 other people (the place was a hot box at 95 – 105’F), but United was amazing. They handed out water every few hours, food and snacks. But after 30+ hours, we managed to get on yesterday’s flight and flew to Chicago (there was no other choice), but they also booked our connecting flight. This was ALL free, they had support staff on board, the Red Cross was waiting at Chicago O’Hare to help and medical staff could get the sick and injured to hospitals. They put everyone who only had connecting flights today, up in hotels and gave food vouchers. I cannot praise them enough. Sorry – I am rambling… but so so thankful!!”
On the trip from Aguadilla, on the west coast, to San Juan, this couple reports that they did not see one truck or oil tanker on the road. That jives with other information I found on Facebook saying there are at least 3,000 cargo containers filled with food, water, and fuel just sitting on the dock in San Juan because there are no trucks to transport the goods. It appears no supplies are getting to the west coast where Justin and Jo live. And add to all this that there is a very strong south wind blowing lots of heat and moisture onto the island. With no electricity for fans or air conditioners, anyone who has to stay inside, like the folks in nursing homes and hospitals, it must be unbelievably oppressive. I’m sure Justin and Jo are staying outside as much as they can, but with all the standing water, I worry about the diseases mosquitoes bring. You see, I had way too much time to worry today.
For those interested in learning more about Justin and Jo’s part of our world, there are a couple of youTube videos you might one to watch. One is of Rincon before the storm. And I just cried as I watched it this afternoon. I know the beautiful places that were shown—the downtown plaza, all of the different beaches, the lighthouse—once all so beautiful and now a tangled mess. The link is way too long to post here, but you can just Google youTube and type in Rincon Puerto Rico en 4k. Then if you want to see a video taken after Maria that shows the devastation in Rincon, just click on this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhlJTD1gZ4c This is a video to raise money for Rincon, but I am not recommending that you donate as I have no idea if this is a legitimate organization. If I do find a way that you can contribute, I will post that in a log.
And I have one more piece of information to share. All of us need to be contacting our representatives in Washington to get the Jones Act either repealed, or at the very least, temporarily waived. It is one of the main, if not the main reason for Puerto Rico’s huge debt. A friend sent a link to a New York Times opinion page on this topic. It is worth a read and then a call or email to your senators and representatives to get this waived immediately. Thanks to Sue Wolowitz for the link.
I’ll end with the way I started my day. When I got up and checked my phone, there was a message from Google leading me to photos of this day, September 27, nine years ago. The photos were of Justin and Jo, pre-children, when they joined us in Indonesia.On this particular day we sailed from Bali northward to the small island of Bawean. This is a very undeveloped part of the world, but even they had cell service and internet. So as soon as we anchored and went ashore, Justin was on the phone conducting business. While he was doing that, Jo was playing with the children in the little town, and when we all joined her, the children followed us like Jo was the Pied Piper. Beautiful memories. Thank you, Google.