For the first time in 30 years I'm glad my Abuela isn't alive.
I was looking at photos of the devastation that is Puerto Rico and I know that seeing these images would have surely and completely broken her corazon. She came form the town of Yauco, P.R. Same with my Grandfather. I keep trying to hear anything about the town. I know some of the people living there are my distant relatives, second and third cousins, family friends.
I'm a New Yorican. Born and bred in the South Bronx. Familiar with Spanish. Read it and write it, but certainly not fluent. Still working on it. Kind of a lifelong work in progress.
I'm trying to do everything I can do to help. Donate where I can. Mobilize by getting the word out. But logistics seem to be the real issue: How do we get help to those who need it most?
I took my wife and daughter to San Juan a few years ago. I'm worrying now about every face we befriended. That sweet man who insisted on giving my daughter Scarlett cookies by the pool every day -- is he ok? Is his house standing, or gone, or under water? What became of the dogs that lived off the wild crabs they caught on the beach? The old man who pressed pastries and would then lather them in butter with dustings of powdered sugar. Is he ok?
I know one thing about my Boriqua people, we're strong, prideful and incredibly resilient. But we're not magic. And we need some help.
But I can't write much more. It takes too much time. I need to be out organizing things for Grandma's people. The woman who loved me so completely. Who didn't even turn on me after an eight year old me lit her couch on fire, and threw the cushions out the window to hide the evidence. She loved me still. I owe her. And this devastating thing that has befallen her homeland, this thing that if she were still here would mean sorrow for her, has become my sorrow, my new focus and my new job.