Local Family Visits Grandfather in Puerto Rico

Abby and Samantha Young visited Puerto Rico over the recent winter break.

Hurricane Maria destroyed parts of Puerto Rico. (Picture taken in 2017)

Grace Mueller, Staff Editor

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and caused mass destruction. Many buildings were destroyed, thousands lost power for months, and over 3,000 people lost their lives. It was devastating for all Puerto Ricans and families in many parts of the world. However, the local communities have fought their way through it all for over a year. 

A great number of people who survived Hurricane Maria have family members living all across the globe, some with relatives living in the United States. In fact, one family in the Windsor C-1 school district has a family member who survived the hurricane. Senior Abby Young and Junior Samantha Young at Windsor High School both visited their grandfather, Jorge Caraballo, or ‘abuelo’ as they call him, over this past holiday break.

Abby Young said, “We visited my abuelo, and he was on the side of the island that got hit. His town was basically right in the path of the hurricane, and we got to see his house for the first time after the hurricane.”

Luckily, her grandather’s house was not destroyed in the hurricane. However, his leather furniture was destroyed in the storm. While it had minimal damage, the electricity was out for several months.

When the hurricane hit, it had winds up to 175 miles per hour and 10 to 20 inches of rainfall. These conditions were catastrophic and had only been seen in few hurricanes before.

Of course, it was a shocking sight to see for many families after the hurricane, and still is very heartbreaking for all.

While visiting their abuelo in Puerto Rico, the sisters seemed to notice all the differences in the community from an average day in their lives. Many systems were shut down and everyday things such as going to the store, pumping gas into cars, and even turning on the lights had to be done in very different ways.

“They have everything imported because they don’t have ways to produce gas down there, so if the gas stations ran out of gas, there would be lines of cars and they would come back every day (to see if there was gas),” said Young.

Young had also mentioned that a nearby goat farm had its fence taken out by the high winds, and days were spent trying to get all the goats back to safety. She even noticed a few animals roaming the streets around the area where her abuelo lives. In general, many farms had a hard time bouncing back because of the crops that were destroyed.

The two had also talked about helping their abuelo by sending useful stuff, such as solar powered lights and an electric stove top, when the hurricane initially hit back in 2017.

Even though many catastrophic things happened as a result of Hurricane Maria, the people of Puerto Rico definitely came together and fought their ways through.

“It’s nice to see how people can work together, and just the fact that they did this by themselves,” Samantha Young said.