My three weeks in Puerto Rico: Linda Haddad
In 2017, Puerto Rico was hit with two strong hurricanes that devastated the island. One hundred percent of the population was without power, and many were without water or a safe consistent food source. The American Red Cross put out a call for disaster worker volunteers who have experience working in third world environments; they specifically sought returned Peace Corps volunteers, of which I am one.
I work full-time but was able to use vacation time to travel to San Juan. I spent three weeks in country (December 12 – January 03) as a Red Cross Volunteer to PR. I was assigned to work with the Targeted Relief Recovery team, and our primary responsibility was to distribute and educate on how to use gas and solar power generators to people who had medical conditions that required power for care. I also distributed water filtration devices and solar lamps. All of this or course was done in Spanish.
It was a powerful experience, and I wish I would have been able to stay. There is still so much need in Puerto Rico.
- Linda Haddad is a volunteer for the American’s Red Cross’ Bay Area Chapter.