The blackout in Puerto Rico is now going into its second month, with some calling it the longest blackout in U.S. history. Seventy-five percent of people on the island are still without power and many are still struggling to get clean drinking water and food. In the face of all of that adversity, some are carrying on as best as they can.
This photo shared by Alejandro García Padilla, former governor of Puerto Rico, shows surgeons performing surgery in the dark, illuminated by cell phone lights.
On his Facebook account, the former governor wrote “De tripas corazones. Médicos en cirugías iluminadas por flash light de celular. Bravo por ellos! But this is not a “10.”
“Muster up courage. Doctors doing surgery illuminated by cell phone flash. Bravo to them. But this is no perfect 10.”
The New York Times reported this week on schools that are reopening without power.
Some schools are open again in Puerto Rico without power. For most of the students, homework's out of the question. https://t.co/Tdtl87hWqT
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 25, 2017
Although only 9% of the total public schools on the island opened this week, over a hundred schools are expected to open soon once their paperwork is submitted. School days will be cut in half and students will not be required to turn in homework. Things are slowly coming back, and although students have to bring their own water and bug repellent to class, it’s a start.
Students at a ballet studio keep dancing, despite the wood warping under their feet and batteries dying in their radios.
"If we have to teach in the darkness, teach in the darkness, let’s light the candles” https://t.co/acQftonfff
— New York Post (@nypost) October 20, 2017
Laura Valentin-Lopez, owner of San Juan’s Centro Danza, along with her husband, opened their ballet studio to provide a place where young people can continue to gather and find the literal light in the dark. Without electricity, they sometimes dance in the dark and without music. But all the owners could think about is bringing some level of normalcy back to the children who can make it in to the studio. Valentin-Lopez told the New York Post, “We were thinking of the benefits that dance brings to the spirit.”
Electricity is back in some areas but it took Tesla to step in and get this children’s hospital power back on.
Tesla has used its solar panels and batteries to restore reliable electricity at San Juan's Hospital del Niño https://t.co/Y1WGo91eUj
— NPR (@NPR) October 26, 2017
It took them about three weeks to get the power back up and running, but with the speed at which the island is getting electricity, that’s not terrible. The initial idea appears to have come from a Twitter conversation in which someone asked if Tesla could help Puerto Rico. Elon Musk responded that while there is no limit to how much solar power can be scaled, it would be up to the government and people of Puerto Rico to decide. A few minutes later governor Ricardo Rossello chimed in and asked if PR could be the flagship project for such a large solar project. From there, it was all history, until this week when the children’s hospital was turned back on.
While we raise funds, send goods, and work to to get Puerto Rico back on its feet, it’s good to see that some progress is being made and that the spirit of Puerto Ricans can bend, but will never break.
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