Autumn Okuszka, Editor-in-chief

2017 is the year that will go down in history for many due to the devastating hurricane season, causing names like Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria to now have a negative connotation tied to them for a very long time. Although hurricanes happen to be a common thing all across the world, the fact that most this year hit too close to home, in states like Texas and Florida, many felt sorrowful for our neighbors down south.

Not many’s sympathies crossed the border, however, as even though Puerto Rico, which is an American territory and is still greatly affected by the recent hurricanes, didn’t have as much national coverage. The truth is they still need help and a lot of it, as many are still without electricity and other necessities that most take for granted.

“We should gather things and round up people to just help. They need supplies, people to build/rebuild houses, power lines. People are suffering, and if they get the help they need they won’t have to anymore as much as they are at this moment,” says Linda Troche ‘19, a Puerto Rican student here at WWT who, before the hurricanes, recently visited her home.

“My grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles are all there. I had recently traveled there after a long while to catch up with them.”

After creating great memories with her family and returning to Michigan, Linda had no way of knowing what was to come. Hurricane Irma and Maria, in only 2 weeks apart from each other, both category 4 hurricanes, would soon be hitting Puerto Rico. “When my family and I had found out what was to come we made sure to call them before it happened as well as when it was going on. We were so worried it had brought us to tears not knowing how they were when we weren’t in contact with them,” Linda says.

Finally, after what seemed to be the never-ending storm had passed, Linda was eventually able to be in contact with her family again, who told her first-hand just how devastating hurricane Irma and Maria had been.

“The place I went to when I was in Puerto Rico, a place where I took pictures, is destroyed completely as well as my aunts friends house. My aunt and uncle’s house is only a mess, somewhat wrecked but not terribly thankfully. They’ve said that many are stealing from others during this hard time.”

Although the country is slowly trying to reach normalcy, they aren’t able to do it without help, and sadly they haven’t been getting as much of it as much as Florida or Texas had when the hurricanes hit them. For those wanting to make an impact, many donate to organizations such as UNICEF, the American Red Cross, or supporting and buying relief songs such as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Almost Like Praying,’ which features many Puerto Rican artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Camila Cabello, and Gloria Estefan, with all proceeds from buying the song going towards hurricane relief.

As Puerto Rico continues to rebuild slowly but surely, finding help in the most unexpected places, Linda finishes with this. “I really hope people will get the help and supplies that they need. They don’t deserve this, no one does.”