Help Puerto Rico – salimos de aquí

[Salimos de Aquí is the title of a song by Puerto Rican rock band Fiel a la Vega. Translated loosely as “we came from here”. The featured image is the town of Corozal, pre-hurricane María. I took the picture last summer, I can’t imagine how this area looks now.]

[Update 10/31- I’ve included an easy to share jpg of the list of places that are helping Puerto Rico at the end of this Blog Post]

Here I find myself, exactly a week after my previous blog post. A lot has happened in this week. Frustration is mounting both in and out of Puerto Rico. Those of us that are following the news from the outside are waiting to see when and how our people will receive the help that they need.  I am heartbroken because, even though I have heard that my immediate family is well, there is a large portion of the population of Puerto Rico that is suffering. Many people have asked me how they can help. I decided to make a list of places that are currently helping. This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a start.

Nacio_para_luchar
El jíbaro- Nació para luchar: esa es su gloria. (The country man- Was born to fight/struggle: that is his glory)

At the end of this list, I included the song and lyrics to Salimos de Aquí. The colonial situation in Puerto Rico is complex. There is too much emotional baggage to unpack at this time. The only important truth in this situation is that the people of Puerto Rico are loving people that care for others, and right now they need your help. The lines of this song: “vivir pa’ sobrevivir” (live to survive) have never rung truer. It has been 10 days since hurricane Maria and people are running out of food and water.

And, to my Puerto Rican friends and family, remember: “Salimos de aquí… eso no es de donde quiera”  (We came out of here… and that is not from anywhere).

Love,

Vanessa

Update 10/13 – I’ve talked with my family. Hardly anyone has electricity and supermarkets don’t have much selection of food. Read the news today and there are concerns over Maria-related suicides.

 

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Exploring Playa Puerto Hermina in Quebradilla this last summer. All the green is gone.

 

(note these are in no particular order)

Feeding America partners with Bancos de Alimentos Puerto Rico 

For information go here: http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/hurricane-maria-what-we-know.html

To donate to Bancos de Alimentos Puerto Rico go here (pay pal): http://www.bancodealimentopr.org/ (once you are there, click on the yellow button that says “Dona Ahora” and it will take you to PayPal

If you need to be convinced: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/25/us/daddy-yankee-despacito-puerto-rico-cnntv/index.html

Defend Puerto Rico

Focusing on the relief efforts of Loiza and other various low-income communities.

For information, and to donate go here: http://www.defendpr.com/relief/

World Central Kitchen

I have been seeing many videos about the efforts of Chef José Andrés organizing, cooking and distributing food. There is no doubt in my mind that they are making things happen.

For information and to donate go here: https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org/donate

If you need to be convinced: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/09/29/jose-andres-a-naturalized-u-s-citizen-has-become-the-face-of-american-disaster-relief

 

 

 

ConPRmetidos.org

http://www.conprmetidos.org/

They are independent, non-partisan and non-profit. This group is vowing to use the funds received on long-term recovery and reconstruction which will definitely be needed. They will not charge OVERHEAD.

You can find more details on this page:  https://www.generosity.com/emergencies-fundraising/maria-puerto-rico-real-time-recovery-fund

You Caring- People of Puerto Rico Fund

For information, and to donate go here: https://www.youcaring.com/peopleofpuertorico-957793

If you need to be convinced, here’s Ricky Martin:  http://toofab.com/2017/09/28/ricky-martin-puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-fundraiser-ellen-degeneres-show-leonardo-dicaprio/

 

Voices for Puerto Rico

The funds will then be distributed to local non-profit organizations located in rural and/or disconnected local communities affected in Puerto Rico by hurricane María.

For information and to donate go here:   http://www.voicesforpuertorico.com/

 

The NYC Mayor’s Fund

What made me donate to this fund, before any other fund, is that I saw that the work that Governer Andrew Cuomo of New York was doing for Puerto Rico. As soon as anyone could fly to Puerto Rico, he was there, with generators, food, water and medicine.  For more information, go here: https://www.ny.gov/programs/empire-state-relief-and-recovery-effort-puerto-rico

To donate go here: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fund/donate/donate.page

Remember to select “Support critical aid and relief efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the surrounding areas.” or “Please join the NYC Department of Education community in supporting critical aid and relief efforts for schools and students impacted by Hurricane Maria.”

Governor Cuomo has also spearheading the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico. He has a great list of suggestions on where to donate here: https://www.ny.gov/empire-state-relief-and-recovery-effort-puerto-rico/empire-state-relief-and-recovery-effort-puerto#donate

Unicef, American Red Cross & Save the Children

If you feel more comfortable donating to long-running organizations, Unicef, the American Red Cross and Save the Children are taking donations, according to the USAid site devoted to the hurricanes (https://www.usaid.gov/irma)

 

Easy to share jpg here:

Donations

 

 

Salimos de una grieta 
de una calle cercana 
desde entonces dormimos 
dando vueltas en la cama 
Salimos del pedazo de cielo 
que pudre las manzanas… 

Salimos del baile, la botella 
y la baraja… 
Salimos de un sueño, 
un sueño de agua salada… 

Salimos del Yunque y de los ríos 
y del Combate y del picadillo 
y del fanatismo a los partidos 
y a la iglesia y al bolsillo… 

Salimos de un pozo 
donde ya no queda agua… 
Salimos de un pueblo 
que en silencio se le ama… 
Salimos de donde se reunen 
todas las caravanas… 

Salimos de un monte 
con cadillos en los pies… 
Salimos de un bosque de azucar y café… 
Salimos de centro y del calor y del machismo 
y del amor al conformismo 
y del culantro y del sartén 
y de una ola que se corre alrevéz… 

Salimos de aquí 
de la orilla del cámino… 
Salimos de aquí 
de un paraiso pérdido… 
Salimos de aquí 
de la perla privilegiada 
de la sombra asociada 
de la envidia caribeña 
y de la estupidez isleña 
de sentirse en menosprecio 
por ser de aquí… 

Y así salimos descalzos 
y así aprendimos sin querer 
a comernos las “s” cuando hablamos 
y eso es to’ lo que hay que saber 
Somos los que cantan con la lengua amarrada 
Somos los que alternan Coca-Cola con Maví 
Somos de la tribu que se pierde en su pais 

Mirando la vida por el retrovisor 
de cantazo en cantazo 
aprendiendo con sabor 
Y no creemos en diccionarios 
ni en panfletos de la fé 
ni en los dichosos patriotismos 
de las copas elevados y los 
brindis de chalet… 

Salimos de aquí… 
eso no es de donde quiera 
Salimos de aquí… 
te lo digo sin problemas 
Salimos de aquí… 
de la playa enamorada 
de los campos de batalla 
y de las casas de cemento 
y que se caigan los lamentos 
que se escucha por aquí… 

…vivir pa’ sobrevivir… 
…vivir pa’ sobrevivir… 
…vivir pa’ sobrevivir… 
…vivir pa’ sobrevivir… 

Salimos del beso 
de una diosa olvidada 
Salimos de un volcán 
al que no le queda lava 
Salimos de pensar 
de que ya aquí no queda nada… 

Salimos de madrugada 
de una cuna reciclada 
recitando oraciones 
que aprendimos sin opciones 
y hoy regresan en canciones 
en saludos y discuciones 
en las miradas de tu cara 
y en la forma en que te paras 
y hoy toda la brisa 
sabe a Puerto Rico…

 

 

 

 

Caribbean vibes: Bomba Estéreo

Got to a lazy start today, so to pick up the pace I’m blasting some electro-cumbia (not sure how I survived pre-Spotify). One of my favorite electro-cumbia artists is Li Saumet from Bomba Estéreo -this woman is pure energy. I discovered Bomba Estéreo in 2014, when they played at the Joshua Tree Music Fest. I was right in front of the stage, in awe of her energy… pure magic. Here’s one of the blurry pictures I took:

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“Caribbean Power – Elegancia Tropical” @ Joshua Tree Music Fest- 2014

From the beginning I loved Bomba Estéreo’s tropical power, but it was the girl-power anthem “Soy yo” (Amanecer, 2015) that made her music a staple in our family. I consider the video, dropped in 2016, a must-watch for young girls.

One more song that I love is Somos Dos; the romantic video is shot in the National Park of Tayrona and in Santa Marta where Li Saumet is from. As she explained in an interview with People en Español, the video is inspired in her real love-story experience and screams Caribbean – this island girl is definitely swooning. Also, I want everything she wears in this video.

And last, they just released this very Salvador Dalí inspired heartbreak video, which I absolutely LOVE!

 

Have a great Sunday!

V.

Jain- don’t judge

Before we left on our trip, my husband introduced me to Jain. I was impressed with her catchy sound and she immediately became a family favorite.

Her music and videos brought up a lot of questions about her background. When I looked her up, some articles questioning if she was guilty of cultural appropriation came up. After some reading, I was impressed with her multicultural upbringing: she is French, but grew up in Congo, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

I felt bad questioning if she was guilty of cultural appropriation, as if I were preemptively judging her -I guess my own issues can make me paranoid at times. I grew up in a colony that to this day suffers from people taking away without giving the credit that is due, so I am sensitive to cultural appropriation.

We are a multicultural family; I am Puerto Rican and my husband is of Greek-Italian ancestry. We live in Southern California, and travel to Mexico frequently, so our family is inevitably influenced by that as well. My kids do not speak Spanish, which gives me impostor syndrome around my Latin American friends and family. Sometimes I feel like I don’t fully belong here or there, so I am fascinated by Jain and the magic that comes from her sounds.