Cultural Exchange - Puerto Rico Sustainable Disaster Relief

Dublin Core


Cultural Exchange - Puerto Rico Sustainable Disaster Relief


Puerto Rico
Disaster Relief
Just Recovery


After Hurricane María, Raíces Cultural Center launch a Sustainable Disaster Relief Fund and Support Campaign. The organization also joined Juntos Together, a coalition of Central NJ organizations working to provide short and long term disaster relief assistance to Puerto Rico and beyond. This is a collection of some of the grassroots relief and recovery work documented by the Raíces crew and collaborators on our initial Disaster Relief Support Trip from January 12-19, 2018, as well as continued updates from collaborators and relief support recipients that is related to this work.


Raíces Cultural Center Crew and Collaborators




©Raíces Cultural Center




Puerto Rico
Central New Jersey

Collection Items

Blue Tarp Roofs
Four months after the storm, thousands of blue roofs were seen in all parts of the island. It was the first sight we saw when descending into Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, and it was a common sight for the Raíces crew to come across…

Clearing Brush
Immediately after the storm residents formed brigades to clear the road of debris, including fallen trees, vegetation and landslides. Much of this was piled along the sides of the roads. Upon arriving in Puerto Rico four months after the storm, most…

Destroyed by Maria
Gas station in Loíza Aldea that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria and has been closed since.

Electric Lines Post-Maria
Bent, broken and leaning electric poles were a common sight in every part of the island, even four months after the storm. This went along with electric lines laying across roads and in piles along roadsides, and lines hanging just inches above the…

Abandoned House
Abandoned and completely destroyed houses were seed in every part of the island. Even as attempts to clean up and pile debris were made, there was still no trash collection in the interior four months after the storm, and debris piles remained on the…

A Grid Destroyed
The powerful winds of Hurricane Maria brought down tens of thousands of electric poles, snapping and bending some completely in half.

La Coca - Closed
The road into El Yunque National Forest was open in January 2018, but only up until the parking lot directly below La Coca waterfall. The road was too dangerous to travel past this point, with landslides, debris and collapsed roads still a challenge.

Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas
Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas is an organization located in the Central Highlands of Puerto Rico, in a small municipality called Adjuntas. Casa Pueblo is a community-based, non-governmental organization that promotes, through voluntary participation of…

One of the projects that stood out the most upon visiting Casa Pueblo was their mariposario, or butterfly house. The mariposario was home to dozens of native monarchs, endemic to the island of Puerto Rico. This is a sub-species of monarch that does…

Transformando la crisis
Sign hanging in Casa Pueblo that reads “Casa Pueblo - Transformando la crisis con alternativa solar energía.” or “Casa Pueblo - Transforming the crisis with alternative, solar energy.”

Tinti Deyá
Casa Pueblo co-founder Tinti Deyá attending to visitors in the artisan shop at Casa Pueblo.

Mural of a jíbaro, or farmer from the mountains on the ruins of building.

Carretera Cerrado
In the week Raíces crew members spent on the island, only three closed roads were encountered. One of them was this major road for western mountain towns, PR-111, where a sinkhole opened in a section of the road going through San Sebastian.

Don Luis and Doña Carmen Soto - Finca Mi Casa
Don Luis Soto and his wife Doña Carmen live on their farm Finca Mi Casa, in the coastal area of Camuy, Puerto Rico. Don Luis maintains one of the only USDA certified organic farms on the island of Puerto Rico. He is a retired agronomist and in his…

Turning Soil at Finca Mi Casa
While at Finca Mi Casa, the Raíces crew members on the Sustainable Disaster Relief Support Trip learned about preparing the soil by hand and spent time preparing and planting a bed of beans for seed saving.

Greenhouse Repairs for Finca Mi Casa
While visiting Finca Mi Casa, Raíces crew members assessed the remaining damage and needs on the farm and decided to fund the repair of the greenhouse, which is essential to the growing and seed saving operations at Finca Mi Casa.

The first time the Raíces crew met Jariksa Valle Feliciano, or Kari, was in 2012 at Plenitud PR, where she was living and working on the Plenitud permaculture farm and eco-education center. During the storm, Kari was living back in her hometown of…

Solar Panels at Radio Casa Pueblo
On January 16, 2018, Casa Pueblo made history for the island of Puerto Rico, inaugurating the first solar power radio transmitter on the island. Through demonstration projects that illustrate and achieve energy independence and resiliency with…

Breaking Bread with Visions Students
During the time Raíces crew members stayed at Plenitud PR’s permaculture farm and eco-learning center, a group of students from St. Thomas University in Minnesota was visiting on a service-learning trip. The Raíces crew arrived just as dinner was…

Working the Land at Plenitud PR
Residents, visitors, neighbors and students work together on Plenitud’s permaculture farm site. This hillside has been transformed from a slope covered in coffee bushes to a terraced food and herb production site using water and land management…

Earthbag House
This earthbag and super adobe house, along with three others around the island of Puerto Rico designed by Plenitud co-founder Owen Ingley, suffered zero damage from Hurricane María.

Starfruit off the Tree
While working on a service-learning project on Plenitud’s permaculture farm and education center, Tobias Knight of St. Thomas University in Minnesota takes a break to enjoy a ripe starfruit directly off the tree. Many fruit trees throughout the…

Service Learning at Plenitud
Students from St. Thomas University’s Visions program participating in a service learning trip to Plenitud PR post-María. Rebekah Sánchez, who lives and works at Plenitud and founded the project Siembra Boricua is explaining agroecology and…

Puerta de Tierra
A building that collapsed onto and crushed a car in Puerta de Tierra, San Juan, almost four full months after Hurricane María made landfall on the island.

Sorting Seed Donations
Sorting through seed donations at the PR Resiliency Fund’s “Brigada de Semillas” or Seed Brigade, held in Puerta de Tierra, San Juan from January 15-19, 2018. These seed donations, from Hudson Valley Seed Company, were being sorted for inclusion in…
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