A month had pass, as you all already know, our beautiful island and all of the Virgen island felt the wrath of this enormous hurricane. The direct hit to Puerto Rico was devastating.
September 20, 2017 change the lives of many of us in different ways.
We were here for hurricane George in 1997, but nothing compares to this one. This fierce hurricane attacked the whole island. Taking out everything that crossed her path.
The arrival of the hurricane had us all frightened, which for our safety and that of my family we had to evacuate our home. The time arrived, and on Wednesday the 20th of September at 8am we began to feel her presence in Vega Baja, PR.
Hurricane Maria with its winds of 145 miles per hour had us all terrified even though we were protected and in a safe place. We were not frightened by our safety, but for those who had a wooden house, living in dangerous places, either by the sea, by the side of a river or in the mountainous area which the wind is strong.
Maria’s fierce sounded like a big monster while slowly passing thru for 14 hours.
You could hear the trees being ripped and pieces of things falling from one place to another. The pressure of the winds trying to break open the windows, the crystal doors and the garage.
Immediately on early Thursday we went out to see and all of us astonished what our eyes saw.
Everything we heard last night does not compare to reality.
The winds were so powerful that while driving thru the roads they had hundreds of trees uprooted, electric poles broken in half and also the cements ones and pieces of metal roofing thrown everywhere, torn from the roofs of the houses. They were places were you could see pieces of wooden houses and personal belonging everywhere.
Passing to the rural side of Puerto Rico there you see a different picture. As you see, us locals united and with all we had trying to clean the pathway.
Like thousands of Puerto Ricans we also lost our home. Everything that we built for a moment was all gone.
Personal belonging that we can never recover was all lost.
After that, we went to see My mother in laws business in Toa Baja and it was also destroyed.
Being uncommunicated for several days, we managed to find signal in front of a cell phone tower in the express way in Dorado,PR.
Imediately we began to send messages to the WKAQ 580 radio which we were able to communicate as well as my sister in law to help us find our love ones.
After 1 hour we managed to upload a Facebook picture of my father-in-law with a message of disappearance which immediately friends and family shared. After about a week worried, just posting the ad after 48 hours they started sending us info about the whereabouts of my father-in-law, in which he was in good state. We received messages from strangers and from people from the states. We were extremely happy to hear that my father-in-law was well.
Our trajectory to Utuado took us 3 days to search for my father-in-law, which his whereabouts were unknown.
The only thing we knew was that the day after hurrican Maria, by desperation he went walking alone and they saw him in a Caonillas. At least we know that from the Facebook posts he was fine.
Now on our third day, we threw the task to return to Utuado asking everyone we found if the road of “La carretera de limon” was safe to pass by car & quote:
“You have to be very carefully because there are many landslides and the roads are bad”
Worried on not knowing exactly what to expect we decided to continue with our trajectory.
In the center of the island and rural places the scene was more devastating. Our hearts were broking to see everything gray, I say gray because the leaves and the bloomen trees were ripped, the beautiful mountains collapsed, the rivers out of there course and disturbed. I don’t know how to explain it but the sky looked different like it was also suffering.
Here are some photos of our trajectory on our way on finding my father in law.
Not having running water in their homes, there you see how the locals took advantage of the river to bathe themselves and wash clothes.
Now, passing thru this tiny bridge was scary for all of us, we stopped and prayed for our safety, we had to do it and we did!
Here, we left our cars because there was no path and we walked for miles, I can’t believe we did this.
When we saw my father-in-law, quote:
“You are crazy, with all the family you guys went up here?, this was not a safe place to be.” Maybe we were crazy but we were very cautious too, if we saw that it was a dangerous road & unsafe we weren’t going to persue it, but it was dry and stable. Thinking about it, he was even crazier by going out
the very next day and walking for hours without any insulin. Nelson told us that it took him about 8 hours, crossing rivers, mudslides, crossing massive trees and rocks, all trying to find the way with a group of people of over 25 people that he did not know, however everyone was making jokes making the moment a little pleasurable”. All of them just as my father-in-law, to go find their relative, to know how they were and to know if they still had a home or not.
After a long day, I walked with all my family, carrying my baby, who was tired and hungry. We prepared a can of sausage with beans and “bollitas de platanos” with white rice.
Everything deliciously prepared by my mother-in-law who cooks very good. We stayed the night in Don Alonso, better known as Los Rossi in Utuado.
His home in Utuado also got flooded.
Yes, no electricity, mosquitos biting us everywhere, sleepless nights, waking up at 3 am with over 14 hours waiting in line in order to get gasoline and at home little by little everything was running out. Every day we hiked to find water for cooking. That was also a long wait.
I’m not complaining, just telling our story that could of been worst….we’re all alive and that’s the most important thing. There were locals starving. Many have lost their lives and just like us , there are thousands that lost their jobs and homes.
My wife and I had gone through another hurricane, but in that occasion we didn’t have children. The panorama changes, when kids are around. Any of you that have children know how hard is to not have what they’re asking for at that moment.
Some have found the crisis in Puerto Rico as an opportunity to invest in the island and I’ve been receiving a lot of calls from investors asking for more info about the Real Estate market now.
Our life has changed, don’t know what our next step will be, but I could reassure you that the crisis that Puerto Rico is facing now is only temporary and for those that lost love ones our hearts go out to you and your family.
Saddened to see our island like this. Please keep all Puerto Ricans & Virgin Islands in your prayers, as many more have passed & have not been reported.
Let’s keep united, together rebuilding our island piece by piece. Puerto Rico will always be the paradise that everyone’s dreaming to live in. Pretty soon our island will rise and shine again.
We would love to hear your story? Did you get help? How are you managing the situation? Or did you leave?
The Five Star Real Estate Group,