I’ll of course will have more blogs after this but let’s lead with one that’s a little heavier. For anyone who doesn’t know, I am currently stuck in Puerto Rico after two Category 5 Hurricanes hit us here. I came here to play professional basketball but ended up playing a month long game of survivor with my teammate instead. I don’t want to sit here and complain about our situation but people need to know the condition that Puerto Rico is in. They need to know the conditions that everyone is stuck in, while the government drags its feet to aid us.
Most people here are in worse conditions than what my teammate and I are living in. In our small community, we are blessed to still have water but most of the families outside our community aren’t so lucky. Like us, they also don’t have power or cell service. People park on bridges along the express way just trying to find signal to call or send a basic text message. My teammate and I climb a large hill, a few miles away, in order to get just basic text or if we’re lucky a phone call. We’re out there on top of that hill, holding our phones up like Mufasa in the Lion King attempting to communicate with our families back home.
Also like us, others are struggling to get fuel for their cars and generators. Though, I highly doubt most of them actually have generators. We haven’t even been able to run ours since before Maria hit. The people whose guest house we are living in take care of it, but the lines to get fuel are a nightmare. So every night is a night spent sleeping in what I vividly imagine Satan’s Lair to feel like. Sprawled out in the bare necessities trying to keep cool. Waking up drenched and taking a shower in the middle of the night to cool off. I sometimes take 4 showers a day. One when I wake up, one if we went to the beach to swim, one before bed, and one in the middle of the night. I don’t know how I’d be handling this if we had actually lost our water. I’d probably be asking Maria why she didn’t take me with her. Lol
People who prepared well, filled barrels up with water to drink and use but that only goes so far. We charge our electronics at our neighbors who have their generators running or when we drive to downtown San Juan for internet (30 min. drive). We call those days our “Wi-Fi days” where we sit outside the Sheraton Hotel with a million other people stealing Wi-Fi to communicate with loved ones. We don’t get to go every day because we have to be smart with our fuel. People wait around ALL DAY at gas stations in order to get some. These gas stations don’t even have gas but everyone is waiting for a truck to arrive. The first day, we waited in a line for 4 hours and didn’t even end up getting any. We got lucky the next day and only had to wait an hour and half but it’s an endless fight to find it. The lines go on for miles, all the way up exit ramps to the Expressways. Same goes for the lines for water, ice, ATM machines, banks, or to simply get into grocery stores. Shelves sit empty in the stores. People are in a frenzy. They can’t communicate with their families on the island or back in the states. The best comparison I can make is to tell you to imagine the movie,” The Book of Eli” but WAY less dramatic/crazy, and you have our situation here. Lol
I haven’t even touched on the airport issue yet. There’s not enough fuel to keep the generators working at the airport so flights are being cancelled left and right. Thousands of people are camped outside with no water, money (no ATM’s working), food, or way to get off the island. Everyone is trying to leave the island but there’s no way to get out. Cruise ships have just started rolling in to help but that’s merely a dent in the overall issue. My flight has already been cancelled once. My teammate and I are just praying we make it off the island this weekend with our current scheduled flights. People here need help and the government is dragging its feet to do it. The power will be out in Puerto Rico for the next few months because of the way it’s set up and how badly Maria hit. Our basketball season is of course cancelled. Our neighbors and us joke about how we’re basically in a war zone. We’re surviving on the bare essentials right now and we’re not even suffering as much as the majority of Puerto Rico with mudslides, families to care for, or flooding worse than us.
On top of all of that, trees and signs are still down on all the roads. There’s curfew every night at 6pm. The stoplights don’t work so police officers are working all day in the heat directing traffic at busy intersections. The roads are chaotic and filled with reckless drivers. Everyone is just trying to get by and have enough food/water to make it through the week. People are out there with families to take care of and feed; not knowing when or where their next paycheck will come from. Elderly folks are dying in nursing homes because there’s no power. People aren’t able to get the prescriptions they need. They suffering from little things we take for granted every day and may not even think about until we’re actually experiencing it. Until you are actually the one suffering from it. Or until a hurricane comes barreling through, I guess.
I’m just skimming the surface of the struggles going on. People need to know and I just want to shine some light on the situation and what we’re actually dealing with. I wouldn’t say my teammate and I are suffering, but we are definitely a few of the thousands here just trying to get by and struggling to find a way off the island. The people of Puerto Rico need your help and whatever you can do, from wherever you are, would help tremendously! Thanks!
Also, thank you everyone for the love, support, and prayers sent my way this entire past month and as my teammate and I continue to try to make it home! We appreciate them all! Xo