Echar pa’lante is a saying which means ” keep moving forward”.
Just six months have passed since Maria devastated the Caribbean. I wrote about my hometown in Puerto Rico and about my grandma. I wrote in the hopes of educating people who may not be as familiar with Puerto Rico other than knowing about the capital, San Juan. I wrote it in the hopes of getting help for my grandma.
Six months later and the island is still recovering; still struggling.
Mami went to Puerto Rico in October to take food and other supplies. She stayed for about a month helping grandma recover from hip surgery. You may remember from the previous post that I wrote about grandma being hurt during the storm. We tried unsuccessfully to convince my grandma to come back to NYC. She’s old and stubborn. But these past few months have taken their toll. I notice her voice when we talk and she sounds so small. She tells me she’s depressed and anxious. She and my grandpa worked all their lives and she has nothing to show for it now. My mother and I send help when we’re able. I still have the fundraiser going and every time there’s a new donation, I send it along.
But as with all tragedies, the news moves to something else and the people forget.
Puerto Rico has been the victim of racism and colonialism for far too long. I still get angry when I think about Donald Trump throwing supplies at people as if those people were little more than animals.
Food prices are sky high and my grandma is finding herself having to decide between bills and food. No one should ever go through that. Especially when the United States is supposedly the greatest country in the world. But look at how it treats its citizens. Yes, Puerto Ricans are American, which I shouldn’t have to remind people of, but here we are.
My grandma is getting sicker. It’s now my turn to go and help with what I can. But to do so, I need help. My mother is paying for the plane ticket, but I will need help with expenses once I am down there. I’m planning on staying three weeks. While I’m over there I plan on once again trying to get grandma to come back with me. In the long run, it’ll be cheaper that way.
If you can spare anything, my family will greatly appreciate it. As much as I love and miss Puerto Rico, this trip is not for pleasure. I really hate asking. It makes me feel so powerless. I am just a disabled single mom, who writes and arts and sometimes people pay me for those skills. But it isn’t enough, the starving artist stereotype is pretty much true.
If you aren’t able to donate, please share my fundraiser. I need all the eyes I can get on this.
In Puerto Rico we have a saying: Pa’ tras ni pa’ coger impulso. Which means, “don’t take a step back, even if it’s just to gain momentum”. I may not have a huge fan base, but what I do have is my voice and with that voice I will get my grandma the help she needs. I can do that, with your help.