Toldos Pa’ Mi Gente is a Puerto Rican organization that provided tarps to their neighbors without roofs when they noticed that a month after Maria – many were still waiting on FEMA and the local government to provide them. They pointed to the fact that a year later a space was found with abandoned tarps that never made it to those that needed it most.
As the anniversary of Hurricane Maria quickly approaches, many of us can reflect on those first efforts the Diaspora and Puerto Ricans on the island made to help the people. Especially when it became horrifyingly clear that we were not going to be receiving the same treatment as other Americans who suffered a natural disaster. With the almost 3 thousand deaths and climbing… this week I wanted to share the work one group did to show their neighbors that they were not alone. That’s what makes me proud to be #Boricua. For all those that provided meals, water, abrazos/hugs, and the blue tarps that their neighbors needed for shelter…. You have my deepest admiration and respect. Your work saved lives, and your commitment gave us a vision for a Puerto Rico made by Puerto Ricans. Thank you for giving us this important reminder of who we really are.
I interviewed Amarilis from Toldos Pa’ Mi Gente and she provided a much needed look into what it was like after the Hurricane and still today.
Amarilis started off by saying that the hurricane uncovered the poverty that was there, that they were only able to see after the trees were laid bare. She said it was so frustrating to see people living in fragile conditions. Seeing older people take out their clothes every day to dry.
So she decided to put up a facebook post that she wished she had tarps to help put them and they received their first tarp from Australia. And 2 months later they had almost 100 tarps. She was worried she would receive more than she could put up.
She and the neighbors got together to organize and at least 30 volunteers showed up the first day.
They did a needs assessment because someone had skills is social work. And from there they grew but she pointed something out that was very important.
Tarps are temporary – they are not meant to be on there for more than 3 months. So they decided to move on to the next phase of actually putting up roofs instead of tarps for long term solutions.
She mentions that soon they will have a donate button on their page but what they are most in need of at the moment is a Truck or large vehicle to transport materials and people around.
But in terms of the fragile conditions in PR she speaks about one woman they are helping who has gotten so tired of scooping out the water that gets into her house that she just lives with it up to her knees. She refuses to leave and refuses to do any more work pushing water out.
It’s a clear example of the extremely frustrating and mentally draining day to day that happens among those caught up in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
She also pointed out the fact that even if someone receives electricity in their home, it does not resolve the most important issue – that they don’t have a roof. What good is electricity if you are living in those conditions?
I hope you will donate to this important organization and will consider volunteering as well, next time you are in Puerto Rico.
This is their facebook Page:
Reach out to them to donate! They are currently looking for a vehicle to help transport materials for building roofs for those without one!