I recall working in the mountains two hours south of San Juan. It was so beautiful there! The rain forest is remarkable and I hate the thought that we might destroy them all one day in favor of industry and technology.
I was away from church, God and all that stuff during this time. So I had no expectation that God would help me. But he did. He sent an ex-marine who spoke good English named Hernandez. Hernandez was a Godsend. I could never have trudged up and down mountainsides, through thick bramble bush and up many flights of concrete stairs if Hernandez hadn’t been there.
He would take my hand and say, “C’mon, Miss Carol. We can make this.”
I would look toward the top of a very steep mountainside and say, “I don’t think we can make this one, Hernandez. Let’s go home early today.”
But he laughed and pulled me upward and somehow we would make it. We trudged through thick woods and across narrow, hand-made bridges. I never understood how people live the way the Puerto Ricans do. Their homes are handcrafted out of odd boards, plywood and cardboard. But this rickety old hut might be situated on the side of the most beautiful mountain you’ve ever seen. I envied them so much.
I interviewed an American who lived there. He said that he had a normal life in Wisconsin working as an accountant. But his grandmother died and left him 20 acres of land in Ai Bonito Puerto Rico. So he flew there to see what she had left him. And he fell so deeply in love with the land that he could never bring himself to leave again.
Instead, he bought some lumber and built a one room house and moved into it. He built right at the top of the mountain. He planned the house so that you could stand on the front porch and see the Caribbean off in the distance. Of course, he made us stand in just the right spot and enjoy his view of the ocean.
It’s hard to describe anything so lovely. We were standing at the apex of a tall mountain. There was half a mile of jungle in front of us that dropped off into a deep valley below. The valley was filled with a white mist. On further in the distance, there it was—the Caribbean.
It was gorgeous to say the least. The next day I took off work and drove down there. It was only an hour or so away. You can drive from one end of Puerto Rico to the other in about four hours. It takes eight hours to drive across Texas.
I still get reports that Puerto Rico is far from being rebuilt. The problem with places like this is that their government and police force is filled with corruption. You can’t just hand them millions of dollars and expect them to use it wisely. There needs to be an oversight committee that makes sure that the money gets to people who need it.
Louisiana and Illinois are like that too. They have a long history of government and police corruption that dates back for decades. The politicians stick lots of the FEMA money in their own pockets and poor struggling Americans never do get any help rebuilding their homes or buying new stuff. In America, the rich really do get richer and the poor get poorer.