Every Sunday since Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, Ada Reyes and her four children have walked half an hour to church. Down a winding road, dodging fallen trees and debris, they walk past cement houses still bearing flood marks, and finally cross the Vivi — a small river in Utuado, a city in the central mountain region.
The Iglesia Cristiana Monte Olivar church is small: one room, with a few rows of chairs all facing two podiums up front. There are about 30 people, all standing when we arrive. Two associate pastors offer a prayer and members pray over each other, some in tears and embracing each other as they pray.
It’s been a hard few weeks in Utuado. Many roads nearby are still too dangerous to drive because of heavy flooding and strewn debris. Schools remain closed. Businesses that are open, including a Walgreen’s and an AutoZone, are powered by generators and have long lines and full parking lots seeding traffic jams.
People here are about to start their third week without electricity or water. Nearly 90 percent of the island is still without power.
Photos: Carol Guzy for NPR