Posted on October 31, 2017
Posted on October 31, 2017Arnaud has been on Vieques for two weeks now and has been working away at the most urgent issues, such as repairing our generators, getting the sailboat out of the hurricane hole (to prevent it from being plundered as sadly has happened to some other boats), thoroughly cleaning the house, yard and shop to address water damage, taking stock of everything destroyed or damaged and preparing our belongings for our extended absence. He's been helping and receiving help from others. He has been able to employ some people to help with the hard work and share some of the supplies we've been able to purchase with your donations. He's also been enjoying the food we sent with him and has been able to give away his allocation of army-supplied MREs, which I kid you not, stands for 'Meal, Ready to Eat'. Support from the outside has been sporadic and erratic. Some people on Vieques have not had any water since the storm and some whose cisterns are too far from the road cannot be supplied by the water truck that occasionally makes the rounds. The supermarkets do get stocked, but supplies arrive in small numbers and are instantly sold out. It is not unusual to sit in line for gas for six or more hours. Google has teemed up with AT&T to supply a trickle of Internet service to some areas of the island. Another group has set up limited but much appreciated Wifi service at the town plaza. Claro cell phone service is being shared across providers and allows for pretty steady text messaging and even the occasional phone call! I am sitting in Germany trying to rustle up more work and failing at adjusting to the increasing cold unlike our dog, Muppet, who even went swimming in the river a few days ago.
Posted on October 16, 2017
Posted on October 16, 2017Arnaud has arrived in Vieques. He was able to fly all the way there with over 60kg of luggage and only paid $20 for overage on the small plane to Vieques. Customs and Immigration were likewise no problem. Finding a safe spot to sleep at SJU while waiting overnight for the morning flight, on the other hand, proved impossible, so he arrived not having closed an eye in almost 30 hours. But he did make it with everything in hand and intact!
The house has only some very minor damage, but is an absolute mess; wind and water apparently deposited grime everywhere and everything is molding.
The cats, happily, are fine!
The dive locker has a collapsed floor and doors, which will be an absolute pain to fix, but it seems like most everything was still there, which is nothing short of amazing.
The kiosk, which was toppled over by the storm surge, has pretty much been destroyed and everything from the inside is gone. It seems that whatever survived the storm, was taken (like for instance an empty safe that was bolted to the floor and the entire solar installation, which was secured very well). That really stings. I think I must have easily spent 300 hours fixing up that little hut. I know it seems ridiculous to bemoan this loss, which pales in comparison to other people's, who have lost their entire homes, but still, it was one of my pet projects and it hurts.
Arnaud spent five hours sitting in line today, but it was worth it because he did get gas! One of our cars' registration is expired and I bet we won't be able to renew that any time soon. It also lost its back window. Another car seems fine, but the battery is door nail dead. Seems unlikely Arnaud will find a replacement. The last car, we still don't know.
Tomorrow Arnaud will try to get to our sailboat, which is moored in the mangroves and was fine after the storm, but nobody has been to see her in two weeks, and looting is rampant, so I am really worried.
I have been sitting at my mom's hose working on a Munich Website, taking breaks teaching the dog how to run with me while I am bicycling and feeling utterly useless.
Posted on October 12, 2017
Posted on October 12, 2017Thanks to your generous donations we were able to buy a satellite communicator, some solar panels, battery power packs, USB-powered small electronics, such as fans and lights, mosquito repellent, mosquito nets, seeds, a bunch of food and what not. You can see some of the items here. We also sent some things such as an inverter, solar powered lights and hygienic articles directly to Vieques. On top of that we were able to pay some of our most pressing bills we would have otherwise not been able to take care of, since our source of income is obviously gone :-(
Arnaud is leaving for Vieques on Saturday. (He finally got a flight!) We are hoping for him to bring some of cash since we hear that it is almost impossible to get money out from the bank. So I just raised the goal on our fundraiser and anything over $3,000 will go towards cash donations to people on Vieques that have worked with us or helped us over the years and who are having an incredibly hard time right now, due to a continued lack of the most basic supplies.