It's no secret that our informal, personal relationships are among the most valuable resources in life and business. The same applies true in the realm of disaster response and readiness. The aid machine is a behemoth. It is an incredibly complex, nuanced, politicized ecosystem that requires expertise to navigate. While the resources brought to bare in large scale disaster response operations, whether being administered by FEMA, the UN etc are exceptional. However, those resources are not always effectively stewarded, deployed and or utilized in a way that serves the impacted population. In Puerto Rico, we have found, like we did in Haiti, the Philippines and everywhere else we have responded, that the informal networks and relationships we had and formed led resulted in the most expeditious of efforts.
To highlight this in Puerto Rico:
We are long past the response and initial phase of the recovery stage after Maria. The long-term players here have started to establish themselves and an informal network of doers has started to emerge. One of these actors is Christine Nieves who is the Co-Director of the Proyecto de apoyo Mutuo Mariana. This initiative exemplifies the power and capability of the community itself to adequately handle response needs without relying on external aid. Their efforts are now directed to setting an example that can be emulated around Puerto Rico and abroad for how to future proof and make a community ready.
We received a text from Christine shown below this past Tuesday May 22nd:
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