Puerto Rico in Recovery
Puerto Rico has seen its share of problems over the years. The commonwealth is a U.S. possession. And it has always been treated as such. Its inhabitants are bound by U.S. policy but cannot vote (for U.S. president, etc.). Some time ago, its economy had just started to emerge from years of depression. But U.S. tax law changes helped plunge it right back into the fiscal doldrums. Then, as if to add insult to injury, two major hurricanes hit back-to-back. The first was damaging enough. But the second was utterly devastating. Maria’s path cut directly through the island’s utility infrastructure, taking it all down. Well over a year later, the island is still deeply in recovery.
A group I belong to just concluded the second of our regular quarterly rebuilding trips to Puerto Rico. I must say, we’ve fallen in love with the place. We’ve come to love the people as well as the land. And what we’ve come to appreciate the most is the indomitable nature of the people. Largely poor by our economic standards, they are truly rich in spirit. In the midst of hardship, life still flourishes there. It’s a testament to both life’s resilience and its preciousness. We’ve also come to appreciate the peoples’ character. They’re a people of faith and integrity. And common folks have stepped up to fulfill promises government failed to honor. Our group does its best to support these folks’ efforts.
Some Blog News
You will have noticed that there was no post last Friday. I was on a steep hillside helping erect a community center for one of the poorer mountain communities in central PR. Cellphone service and internet availability is still intermittent and poor when present. But the place has other important things in abundance. And for that reason, I have returned much richer myself for the experience.
You will also notice that my traditional Thanksgiving message will supplant a regular post this coming Friday. And I sincerely hope you find the message meaningful. We have so much for which to be grateful. And my Puerto Rican experience bids me to share some reasons we often take for granted.