Before taking this AFL on Race, Gender, Colonialism and Climate Change I had very little knowledge about hurricane Maria. I only knew what I saw on the news and what I heard from my relatives and friends who have family on the island. As the course progressed I started to realize that there was more to what happened and more damages than what the new was portraying. It’s crazy how the news would trying and make it seem like they were helping when in reality they weren’t helping Puerto Rico like they should have been. It was even more sad to find out that the Puerto Rican government wasn’t helping the country as they should have. I learned from a fellow classmate that was there when Maria happened that months after the hurricane people found containers full of food and water supplies. Which turned out that they couldn’t use people it was no longer good for them to use.
I remember watching videos on social media of Donald Trump throwing paper towels at people as if it was a basketball. It upset me so much because, in my opinion, he wasn’t taking it seriously and then he had the nerve to tell Puerto Rico officials they should be “proud” they did not lose thousands of lives as in “a real catastrophe like Katrina”. When I heard that he said that I was so upset because it was a real catastrophe like Katrina. Many lives were lost and the country was destroyed and the country was left without electricity and water. Many people couldn’t even communicate with their relatives who were in other parts of the country. For example, my aunt did not have electricity for more than a year and it was really hard for her. Especially the fact that she could communicate with her kids for some while because they all lived in different parts of Puerto Rico.
People underestimate how important mental health and how it can affect a person’s life, especially after a natural disaster. After Maria, a lot of people were left without information on how to get help or where to go to get help. This would cause some partners to take out their frustration and anger on their partner. Which caused domestic violence and sexual assault against women to increase. In an article, I learned that before Maria Puerto Rico had the highest violence against women in the world, which has increased over the last few years. I was surprised when I found out because I knew that there were cases of domestic violence, but I never imagined that it would have been the highest rate in the whole world. It’s crazy because I never thought a hurricane could impact a person’s life this bad. I always thought that a disaster would cause people, families, and couples to come together as one. This showed me that a disaster can cause more than just physical damage. One article that touched me the most was “The Maria Generation’: Young people are dying and suffering on an island with a highly uncertain future”. The article starts off with a dialogue between a mother and her son. In the dialogue the son is trying to reach out to his mother, but because the cellular network was damaged because of Maria the mother didn’t receive the text message right away. When she received the text message 90 minutes later she panicked because she knew her son suffered from depression. So she quickly texted back and when she saw that he did not respond she decided to rush to the house. When she arrived she found her son dead on the patio. It also turned out that her son wasn’t the only teenager that had committed suicide. It turned out that many teenagers committed suicide because they couldn’t handle the way they were living or they were tired of waiting for things to get better. It’s sad that things were so bad that these young kids left like that was the only way out. If the Puerto Rican and United States government would have worked together and tried to help Puerto Rico like they should have maybe these kids wouldn’t have felt that, that was the best way out.
My overall reflection on hurricane Maria and it’s the second anniversary that just passed a couple of days ago is that people underestimated the hurricane. If Puerto Rico would have had the resources and helped that they need maybe things would have been different maybe things wouldn’t have been so bad. If the United States would have let other countries help out Puerto Rico would have recovered without so many complications and they wouldn’t have had a limitation on supplies. Everyone would have benefited from those supplies without the country having to worry about running out. I also feel that the media didn’t really say much about the second anniversary of Maria like they should have. I feel like they should have followed up and let the world know how the country is doing and how it had progressed.