A service trip coordinated by Huguenot Memorial Church sent 16 kids from Pelham, 1 from Boston, and 3 adult chaperones to Puerto Rico on July 15 to help rebuild the Community Center in Mariana.
The town, located in the Southeast corner of Puerto Rico, is where in September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall at full category 5 strength. Hurricane Maria’s 175mph winds did more than just damage homes and buildings, it also crippled the electrical grid for almost nine months and completely unsettled the local population.
The 20 person team of kids and chaperones, working with Crossing Thresholds and with ARECMA (The Recreational, Educational and Communal Association of Mariana), spent three days restoring the interior of a family’s home; cleaned a storm-devastated community kitchen and created two gardens at the newly rebuilt community center that is quickly becoming the heartbeat for the local community.
Besides working by day, in the evenings the team met local residents who told the kids about their experiences during Hurricane Maria along with the history, the economics and current politics of Puerto Rico.
The group returned on July 19.
(Mariana is on southeast coast, about an hour away from San Juan where there were protests.)