This time three weeks ago Hurricane Maria was destroying my father’s homeland of Puerto Rico. Today, my husband, Nathan and I are on our way to the island for a medical relief trip. Just sitting here on this flight feels like a miracle.
After the hurricane hit, my desire to go to Puerto Rico was immediate. I spent summers and holidays on that island as a child. I speak the language. So many of my loved ones live there. But the desire to go was only one small part of the equation. With 100% of the island left without power and most of the island without water or communication, we didn’t want to add even one drop of burden to the already desperate situation. We didn’t want to eat any food that would be needed by the locals. We didn’t want to become two more people who needed support. At first we thought it would be best if we didn’t go at all. But as time went on we started to realize there were tangible areas that we could help. Not only do I have family in some remote mountain pueblos, but because we live on a boat, we are pretty good at taking care of ourselves. And, most importantly, Nathan is an ICU physician who was a Mechanical Engineer in his past life. He is the kind of guy that can find a way to get in to places that are hard to get to. He is a guy who gets things done. Yesterday was our 19th wedding anniversary, and as I sit here beside him, heading to Puerto Rico with backpacks full of medical supplies, I am reminded so beautifully of the reason I married this amazing man.
But even with a Macguiver-Doctor-Engineer husband, and a personal connection to the island, the logistics to pull this trip off were daunting. We don’t even have a return flight yet; only promises that we will get back when we need to. That promise, plus awesome babysitters, an overwhelming outpouring of support and an unflappable belief that this is the right thing to do, is why we are here, really doing this thing.
As I type this, I look over at my beloved and am reminded that Nathan and I met on an airplane. Back then, some 20 years ago, it was a flight that drastically changed the course of my life so that I am better because of it. I have a feeling this flight will do that too.
I’ll check in again as soon as I can.
Lots of love,
-Rosa Linda Román
**If you would like to help here is the fundraiser I created for Puerto Rico. All funds will go to direct relief to people in Puerto Rico (our own trip and supplies are personally funded). Thank you for your love and support!