Thanks to extensive coverage by The Guardian and CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, along with endless debate about Puerto Rico’s past, present and future, colonial status and the debt, I can’t imagine there are too many people who don’t know Puerto Rico was hit by a category 5 hurricane last September 20, 2017. I really appreciate The Guardian and David Begnaud for shedding light on what’s really going on here. With assholes like the current president throwing paper towels at Puerto Ricans (two weeks after the hurricane), all while telling us we threw off his budget, and refusing to approve hurricane relief funds for six months, their positive, unbiased and balanced coverage is so needed. My only issue: while there is no doubt we need people to know what we on the island continue to deal with, rarely does the focus turn to preparedness. Hurricane Maria was one in a long line of hurricanes to hit both Puerto Rico and the Caribbean as a whole and it won’t be the last. Six months I asked myself what I can do to help both my fellow Boricua and anyone who will ever live through a natural disaster. So I wrote the book Sarah’s Tips for Preparedness: Minimizing the Impact of a Natural Disaster.
Sarah’s Tips for Preparedness Really is a Book for Everyone
I realize this is a platform to celebrate the Multiracial Experience but I’d like to take a moment away from talking about something that just affects those in the Multiracial Community to discuss something that impacts everyone—regardless of where we live. As fires continue burning California—again this year, heatwaves and fires rage throughout Europe, earthquakes of magnitudes 7.9 in Kodiak, Alaska and an 8.2 in Chiapas, Mexico, and myriad others around the world in recent years, one thing is clear: nobody is immune from a natural disaster. Young, old, Black, White, Asian, Native, Multiracial, thin, overweight, rich, poor or middle class and regardless what languages are spoken in homes, it isn’t a matter of if but rather when.
Are you prepared?
If you think stocking up on water, some batteries and canned foods makes you prepared, I suggest you read this blog and consider buying my book, which by the way I won’t see a dime of the profits. 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit two non-profits on Puerto Rico. So writing about this today, hoping you’ll buy the book today, tomorrow or next week, isn’t self-serving. I wrote this book to help people and give money to two organizations that will put the money to use right away.
What Does It Mean to Be Prepared?
What’s your first reaction after learning that a tornado, flood, wild fire or hurricane is headed straight for your town? Unless you just need to socialize, if your response is to leave your house to buy anything—food, water, batteries, wood to board up your windows, flashlight, etc.—then you aren’t prepared.
In 2008, two corporate America professionals left their well-paying jobs to live a much simpler life. Knowing nothing about agriculture, they bought an organic farm in the interior of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. They told themselves they were prepared for anything.
Within three days of moving to their new farm, the water utility shut off their water so they could fix a sizable leak down the hill from their farm. The water remained off for three weeks.
That day this couple learned some valuable lessons about the importance of truly being prepared for anything.
That couple was my husband and me. 🙂
From creating lists and forging bonds to planning weeks, months and even years out, preparedness for a natural disaster is far more than stocking up on items you think you’ll need if you’re going to be shut in for several days or even weeks.
It’s a mindset.
Sarah’s Tips on Preparedness: Minimizing the Impact of a Natural Disaster is a guide for anyone who has to deal with Mother Nature.
Sarah’s Tips for Preparedness isn’t meant to be a definitive guide. With many books on preparedness out there—most of them dense with information, eclipsing 150 pages—it’s impossible to cover every scenario you’re likely to encounter in 50 pages. However, Sarah’s Tips for Preparedness will prepare you in ways you probably never imagined.
All Proceeds to Charity
To prove I’m not being self-serving with either my book or this blog, I do want you to know that 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit two non-profits on Puerto Rico. One is called Fundacíon Free Juana. Fundacíon Free Juana was founded by marijuana activist Shadiff Repullo to educate marijuana dispensaries, growers and manufacturers about marijuana and its many uses. Cannabis has come a long way since I was a teenager. Legal for medicinal use in Puerto Rico, Cannabis comes in many forms: weed (flower / bud), oils, creams, edibles and waxes and can target your chronic pain (and mine), tumors in your body, fibromyalgia, tremors from Parkinson’s, improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s, reduce, almost eliminate epileptic seizures and so much more. Fundacíon Free Juana wants to make sure when you buy medical marijuana, the people who sell it to you know what your reason is for using it and which strains work best for your unique condition. I have used medical marijuana for a year for chronic pain stemming from an injury when I was 18, and have been able to get off Vicodin, which I had previously used for 25 years. I’m grateful to Puerto Rico for legalizing it and to Fundacíon Free Juana for educating all those involved with medical cannabis. Fundacíon Free Juana is located in San Juan.
The other is Island Dog. If you’ve ever visited Puerto Rico, you know we have a very serious homeless animal population. It’s estimated 500,000 dogs and a million cats roam the streets of Puerto Rico in search of forever homes. Island Dog does rescue, spay / neuter and release, adoptions and outreach to the community. Founded by Katie Block in 2006, she and her dedicated team have rescued over 100,000 dogs and cats that would otherwise remain on the streets: hungry and continuing to procreate. This is an organization that is very close to my husband’s and my own heart. Prior to posting cameras at various points on our property (including the front gate), we had half a dozen dogs and more than a dozen cats dropped off on us. Relocating pets people no longer want or that are the result of not spaying and neutering is not someone else’s problem. It’s our collective problem and through education and action, Puerto Rico can end its stray dog and cat problem. Island Dog is located in Fajardo (on the east coast of the island).
Sarah’s Tips for Preparedness: Pick Yours Up Today
Hurricanes, Fires, Blizzards, Tornados and/or Earthquakes will impact our lives. There’s no getting around this but the more prepared you are ahead of time can mean the difference between inconvenience and devastation. Sarah’s Tips for Preparedness: Minimizing the Impact of a Natural Disaster is available in English and will be available in Spanish by August 1st. Do it for you, do it for your family and help two very worthy organizations in Puerto Rico.