2017 Life Logs, Day 276: How to Help
Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Weather: Still Cool and Sunny; High 66, Low 50 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
I spent a fair amount of time today watching the television coverage of the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas and President Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico. From what I saw, the Las Vegas community is coming together with grace and dignity to deal with the catastrophic event in their town. The first responders did everything possible to save lives, the people attending the concert did everything possible to help each other, the law enforcement was in action immediately, the medical community went into overdrive to try to save lives, and the powers that be and the businesses and citizens of the town are supporting the hundreds and hundreds of people affected by this—the family and friends of those murdered, those who were injured and their family and friends, and the people of Las Vegas who are living through this horror. This is the way Americans respond. But what I saw reported from Puerto Rico today was very different. Neighbors have been working non-stop to help neighbors and businesses that have the resources are doing what they can to help in their communities, but our President made no mention of this. In fact, he really didn’t acknowledge the devastation to the people of Puerto Rico. The powers that be are still boasting about what a wonderful job is being done there without evidence to back that up. There is no doubt that the people who have been sent there to help are good people who are doing the best they can. And I believe General Buchanan will do the best he can with the limited number of people and resources that have been deployed. But there are not enough people or machinery to do the job and the needed leadership was delayed in arriving. Things are steadily improving in San Juan where all the help and supplies are arriving, but it is the rest of the island that is in such dire need. Once again, I find myself feeling shame for the way our President conducted himself in San Juan today. When others are hurting so desperately, you do not go in announce what a great job your people have done to save them without acknowledging the incredible job they have done in saving each other. And you don’t remind them that their problem is causing you a great financial burden. Shameful is once again the only word I can find to describe Donald Trump’s speech and actions in dealing with Puerto Rico. I can only hope he does better in Las Vegas tomorrow.
Despite my disappointment in the way things continue to move so slowly in Puerto Rico, I’m still focused like a laser on doing what I can to help. The title of this log, How to Help, should have a series of question marks after it . . . and I don’t have the answer. The packages we have sent via the US Postal Service are still delayed in transit according the USPS tracking site. And until those packages arrive, Justin and Jo have no source of money. Their bank is still closed. So hopefully they have enough gas to continue to drive to town to check on the mail. I read on a Rincon Facebook page that the Red Cross did make it to town yesterday to hand out water bottles and some food to those willing to wait in line. That is the first help I have heard that has reached their area of Puerto Rico. Justin and Jo still have food and they are collecting rain water and spring water to drink. But they need the water filters in one of those packages that is still in transit. There was a video on a Rincon Facebook page demonstrating some items that would be welcomed if they could be sent. Tomorrow I will go to Walmart to see if they have some of these items. One was a device that looks like a light switch that can be mounted on the wall. When you turn the light switch on, it emits light. Another was a light bulb that screws into a battery-operated socket that can be switched off and on. I’ve never seen either of these things, but I can see that they would be handy if you had batteries. Another particularly heartening thing I saw on Facebook is that the Rincon Beer Company in downtown Rincon is in the process of temporarily changing to a donation center and soup kitchen for local residents. They are serving as a community hub and are open daily from 9am to 5pm with free wifi. So Jo’s parents and myself are now communicating with Justin and Jo using WhatsApp on our phones. We can send messages and if they go to the Rincon Beer Company, they will receive them and can get back to us. The Rincon Beer Company is accepting donations, but at this point, Jo’s parents and myself would rather make our donations directly to Justin and Jo. We know they will share with those in need. Jo’s parents, Phil and Margaret, and I have formed a united front. Since they live in England, it is much easier for me to buy and do the sending of items through the US Postal Service, but we are sharing the costs. We’ll have to come up with a catchy name for our little organization! If you want to contribute, let me know and I’ll get information to you on the best way to do this. There is no end to the things needed by Justin and Jo and the people of Rincon.