Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Nightmare

I woke up from a nightmare about 3 am this morning.

At first I didn't know where I was. I had family - not my family, dream family - and neighbors. All of us were thirsty and hungry. All of us were suffering and more than a few were dying. I understood everything, but we weren't speaking English.

I've never been to Puerto Rico. My Spanish is weak, at best, nonexistent at worst. I don't know what an inland village looks like. My subconscious was clearly creating and filling in the details I couldn't possibly know.

This place had one building that appeared to be partially built with brick or stone that was intact, all other buildings were either destroyed or badly damaged by Hurricane Maria. We'd made efforts to rebuild whatever we could, but water was a big problem. Everyone needed more water and there wasn't any clean water to be had. Food was less of a problem, but still a huge worry.

We were suffering. We wondered when help would arrive. The roads couldn't be completely gone, could they? Some people had left the village, and hadn't come back, so they must have gotten through. Cell phones didn't work. We didn't have power.

But mostly I remember the thirst.

I remember the feeling of being abandoned and forgotten, the despair of watching another person dying while we couldn't help. I remember thinking of leaving and finding a safer place to live - although when I thought that I felt a horrible pang in my heart that told me I loved my home. I remember wondering if I would die before I had a chance to leave, and thinking of trying to get out and find help before I was too weak to go.

I woke up so thirsty I thought I was dying and looked at my clock. The thirst faded so quickly I wanted to cry. I am safe and protected. I'm not in the middle of a disaster zone that is being ignored by my countrymen. But people who should be protected and safe are not - they aren't just being ignored, they are being intentionally insulted and demeaned. People who are also Americans.

This is truly a nightmare.