The green of the island came into view as the aircraft started its descent into San Juan airport. Suddenly, I noticed the landscape was spotted with patches of blue! My mind couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. “How is it possible? So many houses still covered with tarps! It’s May, 8 months since Maria hit.”
I started to understand fragile the island still is and why the need for help in Recovery. Our group of OpenWorld volunteers headed up to the Elemental Eco Retreat in the mountains of Rio Grande. Tucked into the new growth of the tropical rainforest were the twisted, deserted houses that once held families but now hold the ghost of Maria. As we climbed to reach our final destination, I was awestruck by the beauty.
The Retreat is a magical place that bares scars from the storm. I was there to help in the revitalization of the Retreat which in turn helps rebuild the economy of the island. At first, I was hesitant to volunteer because I thought, “What could I do?’ It was becoming clear that each helping hand makes a difference in someone’s life. I know that it has made a difference in mine.