A team of thirteen United Methodist volunteers in mission from around the state of Wisconsin recently returned from Arecibo, Puerto Rico. During their one week stay, they were able to help two families in the area with home repairs caused by the devastating Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
The island experienced 100% loss of communication, 100% loss of electricity and 90% loss of water services. Estimates of 2,000-4,000 people were killed. Work for the team included electrical installation, plumbing, soffit application, concrete repair, and painting. Both homes had already received strong new metal roofs. The team stayed in bunk houses at a local camp where meals were provided. The island is lush and green and in recovery, but much work remains to be done. Residents were very friendly and supportive of the team.
Along the way, they were able to adopt a stray dog who had been abandoned at a garbage dump near the camp. He was friendly and trained, but hungry. The dog, now named Chuy, has made the journey home with two team members and now is enjoying a wonderful new life with a loving family.
The Reborn, Revive, Rebuild project was made possible by generous donations and a grant of 20 million dollars from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and is ongoing. The team enjoyed the trip and many hope to return in the future. The team was coordinated by Andy and Amy Hess of Suamico United Methodist church.