The first roof I worked on in Yabucoa with All Hands and Hearts was hidden in the blue sky and behind ridiculously steep roads. Millie's house has suffered from hurricane Maria and the roof was leaking in every corner. But under the guidance of team-leader Lauren and after hours of puerto rican reggaeton from the radio, powerwashing, scraping, cementing and painting, the little light blue house was sealed and restored.
"It’s 6:45. Meet your team. Puerto Rico needs you!“ It’s sunny morning at the base and Jenn, Volunteer Coordinator of All Hands and Hearts in Yabucoa, makes sure that everyone gets ready for a new day of power washing, painting and roof fixing.
Yabucoa, is the place where hurricane Maria first made landfall in fall 2017, just weeks after hurricane Irma had haunted the Island. In this small municipal area alone over 37.000 residents have been affected by the hurricane and even after more than a year, hundreds of homes are still in need of basic roof repair.
The NGO All Hands and Hearts ist specialized on international disaster relief and committed to address the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. Their aim is to arrive early for first response but also to stay late until schools and homes are rebuilt in a disaster-resilient way. That’s why the organization is still maintaining three bases in Puerto Rico.
I’m joining the Yabucoa program of All Hands and Hearts for a little while to work with volunteers from around the globe who followed their heart and the call of the island: “Puerto Rico needs you”.