I usually sleep in late when ever I'm visiting my family in Puerto Rico. After all, what's better than waking up on your own time to the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning? But it was different this time; I barely slept during my first night there and there was no smell of coffee in the air when I opened my eyes. Instead of my morning sleep being disrupted by my uncle's rooster in the backyard, I was suddenly awaken by the sound of the generator coming to a halt. My aunt would turn it off every morning before heading off to work, in order to save money on fuel. By the time I was up and dressed, everyone was either at work or out running errands. I decided to grab my camera and wander around the neighborhood for a little. I wasn't sure what I would find but I knew what I was searching for, a powerful story and images to go along with it.
I barely made it two blocks down the road when I came across an older man (who asked me to keep his name private) fixing a washing machine in his frontyard. I didn’t hesitate to spark up a conversation and he didn’t hesitate to go along with it. After introducing ourselves and me establishing my intentions, we began to talk about life after the storm. I can sum up his answer in a few simple words: the show must go on!
I specifically remember him telling me that he had all he needed before and after the hurricane hit the island- God, family and business. Considering all the damage that was done, his business of fixing appliances wasn’t affected. You could hear the pride in his voice when he spoke about his business. He taught himself how to fix different things around his own home, saved up enough money and opened up a small shop that was connected to the side of his house.
A client walked up to the shop while we were talking. I couldn’t help but ask the gentleman about the shop owner when the moment presented itself. I wasn’t surprised when he told me he was a great man and everyone in the neighborhood loved him. He said he’s been bringing his appliances to him for the past 5 years or more and hopes to continue to do so. It was nice seeing signs of day-to-day life. This gave me hope.
I originally planned to do one BIG post when I returned. But after reviewing all my images and reflecting on my experience in Puerto Rico, as a whole, I feel it's best I present my work in segments (photo-essay format). I want to give certain moments their own individual time on stage. With that being said, this is post 2 out of 5. I hope you'll be back soon for the rest!