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Shelter from the storm

NPHS student Jan Ramos had to leave his home in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. One year later, he is adjusting to a new life.

Ramos+%28far+left%29+poses+for+a+picture+with+his+friends+during+a+four+day+festival+in+San+Juan%2C+Puerto+Rico.
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Shelter from the storm

Ramos (far left) poses for a picture with his friends during a four day festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Ramos (far left) poses for a picture with his friends during a four day festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Submitted Photo

Ramos (far left) poses for a picture with his friends during a four day festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Submitted Photo

Submitted Photo

Ramos (far left) poses for a picture with his friends during a four day festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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TOWAMENCIN- Moving into a new home can be a hard decision for most people. But for Jan Ramos, he was left with no choice. Jan Ramos nearly lost everything after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and had to start a new life in a different country. As it marks an entire year since he has moved here, his life has completely changed, but for the better.  

Submitted Photo
Hurricane Maria devastated Ramos’s town as shown by the fallen trees in this picture

When his hometown of Bayamón, Puerto Rico was hit by the hurricane, Ramos’s home was lucky enough to not get affected. But the effect on the rest of the town was a different story.

“The area where I lived was really affected—my school got closed—there was this community thing that the whole school helped rebuild and get the trees out and everything. We just stayed mostly at home because the roads were closed but we didn’t have power or water

. We had a power plant that helped us get the power and we had a water supply that didn’t get hit that gave us water,” said Ramos.

Ramos had to make big changes in his everyday life routine in order to provide for his family and help his community.

“We just had to stay inside and get gas. The gas lines were immense. You had to stand for hours in the gas lines. It was awful. We had to get a lot of food and a lot of water. We packed everything that was outside and put it inside so it doesn’t get blown away or put it somewhere we knew was not gonna get blown away,” Ramos explained.

We just had to stay inside and get gas. The gas lines were immense. You had to stand for hours in the gas lines. It was awful. We had to get a lot of food and a lot of water. We packed everything that was outside and put it inside so it doesn’t get blown away or put it somewhere we knew was not gonna get blown away”

— Jan Ramos

Not only was he mentally exhausted from the work he began doing everyday. But the sounds of the storm terrified him. He was able to hear how strong the winds were and it was difficult to grasp how he was feeling at the time. The memories of the horrific sounds still leave him speechless to this day.

Nonetheless, Ramos still felt optimistic for the future. He felt that something good was going to come out of the situation.

“I felt like I was going to gain a good experience after that even though [the hurricane] was terrible,” said Ramos.

It was as if the hurricane symbolized new beginnings. Though it was a harsh experience, Ramos was able to learn to carry on with life and to not let such a tragedy control him.

After his city was nearly destroyed, Ramos’s family contacted a family friend in Pennsylvania, where he was able to find a home to stay in until he could go home after two weeks. With his mom and younger sister, Ramos had to leave the rest of his family including his father, his dogs, his friends, and every belonging behind.

Fortunately for Ramos, the transition of coming to the states was not too difficult. The only difficult situation that came to mind was dealing with the airport which inconveniently only had 3 flights going on that day. Despite that, he arrived in Pennsylvania safely.

Submitted Photo
Ramos poses for a picture with his new friends at a Halloween fair

Ramos described his life in the states as being different from home yet he was able to fit in at school. Having prior knowledge in speaking English, he had no problem with communication. In addition, Veronica, the family friends’ daughter who was the same age as Ramos, allowed him into her friend group. Because he was welcomed into such a big group of friends, he was able to socialize with many people and continue making friends.

Recently, Ramos’s family made the decision to stay in the states.

“I was supposed to stay here for two weeks. That two weeks turned into months. Months went from September to January. Then from January to the end of the year and now I’m staying here because I like it a lot,” said Ramos.

He currently does not have plans to move back but hopes to visit soon to see his friends and family again.

Lately, there has been controversy regarding the Hurricane Maria death toll with President Trump’s belief that the recent tolls, estimating about 3,000 people, were false and done by Democrats to make him look bad. When asked about his thoughts, Ramos proceeded to emphasize the ignorance people had during that time and even now. Following up with his thoughts on whether or not he felt that the U.S. did enough for Puerto Rico, he expressed that we could have done more and that only part of the U.S. put in effort.

“Some other parts were kind of ignorant. The charities were amazing. The government could have done more but the charities did the best they could do. The government could have invested a bit more,” Ramos expressed.

One year after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Ramos remembers the event as less than a tragedy but more of a lesson.

“Don’t give up on what you believe is right, thrive to help others when they’re in need because they’ll help you back,” said Ramos.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Shelter from the storm”

  1. Veronica Urdaneta on September 26th, 2018 6:14 pm

    Amazing article! Very important topic, well explained, and very interesting to read!

  2. MARIA on September 27th, 2018 8:29 am

    This story represents us, Puerto Rico. We are taking every situation as an opportunity to go on an better. It would be a long time to recover totally Puerto Rico to the time before Maria but we see part of the new generation that gives hope to be better.

  3. Julio Soto on September 27th, 2018 9:05 am

    Está expresando lo que sintió y todavía siente🇵🇷 Usar esta experiencia le ayudará en su vida a luchar y seguir adelante para tener un mejor futuro.

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