Hurricane Maria Update: Save the Children

It’s unbelievable to say, but as of January 15th, 2018, roughly half of Puerto Rico is still without power. In the face of such adversity, the people who call this island home are forging on – demonstrating remarkable ingenuity, courage and determination in true American fashion. The following powerful story from Give Luci partner Save the Children is one such example.

Imagine you’re an employer, hiring for a new position.  In an interview with a young applicant you find out that to get to his last job, he walked for forty minutes down a mountain and then took two buses.  Moreover, when one of the buses didn’t run, he walked for an hour. His résumé would undoubtedly jump to the top of the pile. Now take the word job and replace it with elementary school. Meet James.

James is 6 years old. Each morning he and his mother, Mary, wake up before sunrise at 5:30a. At 5:45a, they start hiking down their precipitous mud and grass driveway, which meets the one lane road that weaves them down the mountain.  On a normal day, it takes 40 minutes to get to the local bus stop. That’s without a landslide, typical when it rains now due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. Mary then transfers James onto the school bus which gets him to school by 6:45a.  The sun rises just after 6:50a.  

“The hurricane came in through the window.” Sitting on his tricycle inside their small cement house, James says that he was scared during the storm. Hurricane Maria knocked out power to the area, and until a few days ago, James and Mary began and ended everyday completely in the dark. That changed when Save the Children distributed MPOWERD solar Luci Lights to James’s school.

As James holds his inflated Luci light up to the sun, he begins to explain how it works.  “It takes the sun out here and then we can use it inside.”  He gestures up, and then peers through it as if he’s looking through a spyglass. With his new light, James can color after the sun goes down, and Mary can cook and read.

Mary is determined when it comes to her son’s education, and she will continue to make the long journey with him. “I get my energy from God, and I’m grateful for the help. I don’t have much, but I always try to give to people in need too.” They haven’t had power for three months, and there’s no telling when it’s coming back on. In the meantime, one light is making all the difference.