“Living Here and Not in the Street is Worth Gold”

See also at Countercurrents

Living here and not in the street is worth gold — Wilma Miranda Ramos, Sierra Brava, Salinas, Puerto Rico, February 8.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017. One and a half years later, many of the island’s more than 3 million U.S. citizens continue to be forgotten and ignored by the federal government.

Earlier this year, Stan Cox and I stayed in the Sierra Brava neighborhood of Salinas, Puerto Rico for three weeks. We spent part of that time documenting the post-Maria situation there.

This is a three-part photo essay accompanying an articleby Stan and Paul Cox, titled ‘Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria’

Superpower Neglect: Casting Shadows, Still (part 1)

IMG_5023Salinas is like an upside-down ghost town with signs of the destruction of the 2017 Hurricane Maria still casting shadows on shuttered clinics…

 

IMG_4976…on the outfield wall of the local ballpark, Parque AA De Salinas, which is filled with beautiful potraits of Puerto Ricans. This weighlifter appears as if bearing the burden of superpower neglect while symbolizing the strength of community spirit…

 

IMG_5129…on the lives of the locals, like Wilma…

 

IMG_5115…their empty streets…

 

IMG_5146…their now drought-ridden river Río Nigua, which during the hurricane was overflowing the banks…

 

IMG_5180…a flowering mango tree, seemingly leaning to shelter a broken, abandoned home…

 

IMG_5183…a lifeless splash of brightly colored, abandoned toys…

 

IMG_5127…on the face of Wilma’s pensive 4-year-old grandson Xander Martinez, who regularly suffers from mold allergies…

 

IMG_5079…on Wilma’s broken blue & grey home, leaning to one side, and a pretty blue & silver wind chime hanging on the front door…

 

IMG_5124…on her broken ceiling and the patchwork of daylight shining through the blue plastic tarp that does not prevent rain from pouring in…

 

IMG_5132…on her kitchen with the defunct light fixture…

 

IMG_5120…on her wobbly floor with patched-up cracks and Xander’s yellow shoes…

 

IMG_5136…on Wilma, and the wall behind her with a photo of her son who lives in Hawaii and serves proudly in the United States Army…

 

IMG_5269…on this fading photo of Wilma’s daughter Jomarie and son Juan Carlos…

 

IMG_5068…on fading superpower justice… (Maria scribbled on the wall of Victoria Febás’ home, a resident of Sierra Brava) 

 

Untitled 3…and on Wilma’s beautiful handwritten testimony that reads, in part:

…On that early morning of September 20, 2018, Puerto Rico dawned completely destroyed, leaving people like me with nothing. I am still living in the same place. I have a stitched-together roof, but as I have nowhere to go I’m still here by the grace of God. The people and I standing in lines to get water, food, and ice—it was really incredible that I survived it, and also waiting for the arrival of the lights for months, enduring the mosquitoes, the heat, is unforgettable.

I am one of those who did not obtain help to fix the house. I am living in it because I am not the owner of the house I’ve been living in for six years, and without documents I could not obtain help to repair it. Staying here in these conditions is not easy . But since I have my daughter and grandson of four years here with me, living here and not in the street is worth gold. I hope my guardian angel arrives soon…

please click on links below for part 2 & 3:

Superpower Neglect: A Theatre of Injustice (part2)

Superpower Neglect: There’s Something About a Neighbor (part3)

 

4 thoughts on ““Living Here and Not in the Street is Worth Gold”

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