In May 2018, students at Masis School in Puerto Rico wrote poetry about their experiences during and after Hurricane Maria and students in Windham CT dramatized these poems in a public performance entitled "In Celebration of Puerto Rico: A Conversation Between Children."

"There was a lot of destruction, but, ahead the construction came, for the moment the sun smiled, I'm very happy to see an airplane."

                - Isabella Berrios, Masis School

                               Puerto Rico

"We prayed that God would calm the beast."

Gasoline, water, and food:  essential materials

                          after a storm.
Where the gasoline lines were eternal.

Where a gallon of water was equivalent

                          to a gold ingot.

I realized that the moon exists.

That stars were lamps in the sky

illuminating our every step.

I realized that the neighbors exist,

That a plate of hot food is the best in the world.

That your relatives are important.

That you do not need the phone to live.

That the internet is not essential to our lives.

I learned to wash clothes by hand like our ancestors.

 

Children are no longer heard playing in the street, or

neighbors talking to each other.

Only the terrible sound of silence is heard.

Then I think we learned from that experience,

And sadly, I remember that hurricane season

is about to begin.

                   - Diego Acevedo.  Masis School

                                  Puerto Rico

                      Maria

News, police, frustration.

The streets were dressed in water.

The wind sounded with a sharp sound.

Night came and the blackout.

It was September 21, 2017.  

The humility of the jibaro came out again.

We were just as fragile as a lost child.

But on that day a new experience began.

Man was armed with pick, shovel, and machete.

This was a day where we work for a simple

thank you.  

The day when one neighbor cooked for the whole street.

Photography & video by Roger C. Ingraham and Calen Nakash

                                                                                                 

Maria around here, Maria over there

and everyone scared.

At last Maria arrives

Puerto Rico gone.
Puerto Ricans devastated.
Desperate people everywhere.
The finished island vegetables
Wrecked
wind and water.

Homes, jobs and hobbies deleted.
Desperate people everywhere.
Without water to bathe.
No light to see us.
Without gas to move.
No signal to communicate.
Desperate people everywhere.
Puerto Rico my country, and Maria has gone.
So sleep between the waves and palm trees.
Soon you will see yourself again green,
And you will not see desperate people everywhere.

 

By: Armando Tran

 

María por aquí, María por allá y todos asustados.     

Al fin llega María, Puerto Rico apagado.

Puertorriqueños devastados.

Gente desesperada por todos lados.

 

Las verduras de la isla acabadas,

viento y agua destrozados.

Hogares, trabajos y pasatiempos borrados.

Gente desesperada por todos lados.

 

Sin agua para bañarnos.

Sin luz para vernos.

Sin gasolina para movernos.

Sin señal para comunicarnos.

Gente desesperada por todos lados.

 

Puerto Rico patria mía, ya María se ha ido.

Duermes entre las olas y palmeras.

Pronto volverás a verte verde,

Y no se verá gente desesperada por todos lados.

Por: Armando Tran