That Time I Endured Hurricane María

Amanda M. Castro, Contributing Writer

    As a young girl growing up in Puerto Rico, I endured my fair share of hurricanes, but I never endured something of the caliber of the angry monster that took the small U.S. territory by storm. For the longest time, I have sat through many hurricanes, but the thought of my life – and my family’s life – flashing before my eyes had never crossed my mind until Sept. 20, 2017 – the night hurricane María came to be the worst natural disaster to mark Puerto Rico.

    Hurricane Irma, a hurricane that passed over Puerto Rico just ten days before María, was quiet. A rehearsal. It made me – and most likely the rest of the island – think that María would just be another walk in the park, but we were wrong. Hurricane María’s category didn’t fit in the chart because of its strength. At home, as my parents and I huddled in their room, the winds felt as though they were going to make our home become rubble. The terrace my late grandfather would spend his time in and that once stood at the back of our house noisily fell to the ground, and with it, countless memories.

    When the winds and rain of the furious storm finally died down, I wasn’t able to recognize the place I grew up. There were pieces of cement and zinc rooftops everywhere, flooding and terrified looks on my neighbors’ faces. The power was gone, which was not easy for a type one diabetic, like myself, who needs their medication to be cold for it to function properly. Our water was also gone. And this wasn’t even the worst part… We weren’t able to get in contact with any of our loved ones to let them know we made it out alright, until I climbed up on the terrace for a mere bar of signal.

    This event changed Puerto Rico. It changed my family. It changed me. I am not the same person I was before Sept. 20, 2017. 3,057 people died because of the lack of food, water and power for medications, mechanisms and anything that kept them alive.

    The Puerto Rico that’s standing today is a different Puerto Rico. We stood up and fought with everything we had to stay alive.