Rebuilding Puerto Rico: Social and Physical Infrastructures After Hurricane Maria
|Hurricane Maria destroyed much of Puerto Rico’s physical infrastructure and left many communities on the island more marginalized and neglected than they had already been. This project explores Puerto Rico’s decaying infrastructure; neglect by the US government and the resulting importance of non-profit assistance; how the people of Puerto Rico dealt with the aftermath of Maria, especially in Orocovis a municipality located in the Central Mountain Range; and my personal experience as an NGO volunteer in rebuilding efforts in Orocovis in July 2019. I first address the past and present colonial history of Puerto Rico, which existed prior to and after Hurricane Maria. Primary data include: personal narratives and ethnographic writings from my two weeks in Orocovis/Morovis, Puerto Rico; accounts from other NGO team members on their experiences and their understanding of the political and economic status of Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria; and interviews with two members of the Healing Aid Response Team (Heart 9/11), which I worked alongside for the duration of the two weeks in July 2019. The main findings are: through the rebuilding of Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria, new social and physical infrastructures are created. My experiences as an NGO volunteer in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico, demonstrates the ways that non-profit agencies become essential in recovery efforts. At the same time the presence of US assistance is problematized, and the effects it has on a community dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster is examined. The destruction caused by the natural disaster led to services and assistance from agencies not directly responsible for the recovery, as well as the formation of new social and physical infrastructures. There is also an emphasis on the sense of solidarity among Puerto Ricans living on the island, as well as among diaspora Puerto Ricans.
|First Reader Rudolf Gaudio
|Semester Spring 2020
|Rebuilding Puerto Rico: Social and Physical Infrastructures After Hurricane Maria
|Purchase College SUNY
|Bachelor of Arts
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