Loiza

Celadores de la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE) reparan lineas en Piñones, Loiza, Puerto Rico. (2017)  El área no contaba con el servicio de energía eléctrica desde el Huracán Irma.

Linemen from the Puerto Rico Power Authority (PREPA) repair damaged power lines in Piñones, Loíza, Puerto Rico. (2017)

The area did not have the electric power service since Hurricane Irma.

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Since Hurricane Maria, people in Puerto Rico have been without easy access to electricity, clean drinking water, or food. Many are still staying in shelters; some are living in the ruins of their homes. The once-lush green trees were stripped bare and uprooted.

But all is not lost.

There are two quintessential Puerto Rican sounds that survived:

One is the plaintive song of the tiny coqui frog.

The other is the improvised Afro-Puerto Rican call-and-response musical tradition known as Plena.

Puerto Rico’s ‘Singing Newspapers’ Tell A Story Of Resilience

Photos: Angel Valentin for NPR

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Outside of his little business on the side of the road in a small town in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Santiago Quiñones adjusts a small solar panel.

It’s charging a floodlight, to illuminate the cramped space at night. He takes it down and demonstrates how it works. “You can’t see right now because it’s daylight, but it’s already charged,” he says in Spanish.

Like everyone else in Puerto Rico, 73-year-old Quiñones has lost access to the power grid. His house was also badly damaged by floodwaters when Hurricane Maria swept over the island.

So he and his wife are living across the street, using a bed set up in his shop, which survived the storm with relatively minor damage. They have a generator powering, among other things, a TV in their makeshift bedroom. And to help see at night there’s the solar panel and some rechargeable battery-powered lights.

They bought the light three months ago “for the storms,” Quiñones says. They’d heard it could be a dangerous hurricane season this year.

All over the island, people are facing the challenging task of recovering from the damage wrought by Maria — and simultaneously grappling with a power outage that won’t be over for weeks at the least.

‘You Have To Try’: Puerto Ricans, Without Power, Find Ways Forward

Photos: Angel Valentin for NPR

Playa en Loiza (2018)

Dunas de arena en formación. Esta playa es una de mis favoritas por la aventura que tienes que pasar para llegar a ella. Está oculta tras un pequeño bosque por el cual pasamos a través de unos caminos designados, y al llegar a la playa, tienes que prácticamente saltar, pues esta está a un metro de profundidad, debido a las dunas de arena en formación. Sin embargo, al volver a ir la semana pasada se nos hizo muy difícil encontrar la pequeña playa, pues todo estaba totalmente transformado. El mar en su ir y venir, iba arrastrando arena poco a poco al mismo tiempo que se adentraba cada vez mas, robándole territorio a la playa. Con esto, a su vez fue formando dunas de arena y dandole una nueva imagen a la playa. En la foto esto es lo que se puede apreciar, cómo el mar ha ido empujando la arena y creando lentamente una nueva cadena de dunas. Casos como este son los que hay que proteger, pues la escacez de dunas de arena en las playas de Puerto Rico es algo irónico y real. Al eliminarlas, eliminamos ese escudo que nos defiende de la furia del mar, creandole un camino más fácil al agua para pasar a la civilización. Debemos cuidar y proteger nuestras playas, ya que ellas nos protegen a nosotros.