I just returned from spending ten days in Puerto Rico. When I embarked as a member of the Green Cross to volunteer after the devastation of Hurricane Maria I did it without expectations, not knowing who was the team being deployed with me, where we will live for those ten days, or even in which conditions. I was born and raised in Spain, so any time that I have the chance to visit and work in any Latin country I take advantage of the opportunity because some how it makes me feel closer to home. The reality exceeded any imaginable expectations!
After four months of Maria devastating the entire island, some communities still today are without electricity and some others without drinking water. Like the convent where we stayed, Las Hermanas del Buen Pastor. The sisters that live there, some of them in their late 90s, have been without electricity since September, although their willingness to serve and help others still intact.
I take with me many great memories, but the ones that inspired me the most and will stay with me forever are the ones shared by the everyday extraordinary heroes.
Wichi, a 21 years old nurse collage student who family lost everything after Maria and to help them drives an Uber when he is not in class.
Vanessa, a young mom from a small village in the mountain of Morovis County and who made her personal purpose to make sure that any “encamado”, person who needs special medical care and due to their condition are in bed, can have medical services but especially water and food.
Sandra, Zaira, Rosy, Annette, Gloricel, and Johanna, six amazing social workers from de Insituto of Psycotraumatologia de Puerto Rico, who even though they were dealing with their own lost because of the hurricane, made sure that the vulnerable clients who they serve had water and food.
I learn from every person who I encounter during my deployment, and especially from the rest of the team Dr. Snyder, Jennifer, Anthony and Dr. Casey. Thank you!
My heart is full of strength, resiliency, gratitude, humbleness, and a strong sense of community.
Thank you Green Cross of Traumatology and thank you Puerto Rico for allowing me to be in service.
Esther R. Brown, M.A Psychology
Founder & Executive Director
The Embracing Project
Las Vegas, NV