Over 100 students, faculty, and friends of the school gathered in Trustees Hall to taste authentic Puerto Rican food while hearing first-hand accounts of life after Hurricane Maria and how much has changed on the island since the hurricane hit. Attendees also received an important reminder from TWS parent Doña Hernandez, residents of Puerto Rico are also citizens of the United States. “We are all brothers; we are all sisters. We must help each other”, she added.
Like 6% of the students on Puerto Rico, TWS students Bianca O.’20 and Khalyl M.’19 left the island after the hurricane. They shared their personal and immensely moving stories of surviving not just the hurricane but also the aftermath. The audience heard of living in a car, of not knowing how, where, or when one would find safe drinking water or food and learned how severe depression can overcome those who live through a natural disaster.
The gathering discovered the real needs of the people living on the island and of the issues facing those who left the island and settled here in North Central Massachusetts. Armed with information, service-learning students can now pinpoint where to focus fundraising and set on a course to provide some relief for the hurricane victims.