Puerto Rico Post Maria Rebuild
Give your heart and your hands toward rebuilding hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, and experience a slice of paradise at the same time.
Volunteer Vacations in Puerto Rico
It is so close and the need is so great! Join us on our first program in a United States territory in a time of great need. As the world knows, this beautiful archipelago among the Greater Antilles was struck hard by Category 5 hurricane Maria in 2017, the worst natural disaster in its’ recorded history. Over 500 people died, roughly 80% of its agriculture was lost, the island’s power grid was wiped out, 85% of its above ground phone and internet cables, and countless homes were damaged and destroyed. It is going to take years to recover. Puerto Rico needs you. In your free time you will experience some of the natural beauty that have inspired people to vacation here through the ages: its colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, tropical climate (annual average 80 degrees) and warm, friendly people.
VOLUNTEER WORK PROJECT IN PUERTO RICO
Location: Yauco, about 80 miles from San Juan. Currently there is not an issue with access to gas and roads necessary to carry out our work. In this area, about 1300 houses need their roof fully or partially repaired. We have set and initial goal of rebuilding 100, which have been selected and appointed by a grassroots committee created for the purpose. Roofs are being constructed of galvanized zinc or plywood and asphaltic felp and shingles supported by a wooden frame (truss) and measure approximately 1200 square feet each. We have hired local engineers and supervisors to lead and oversee the project. No special skills or languages are necessary though we recommend that volunteers are capable of working in a tropical climate.
How many roofs are completed per project week depends on how many volunteers are registered, how fast they work, any weather conditions that arise and any changes in materials’ availability.
FOOD AND LODGING
Accommodations will vary depending on several factors, including the size of the group, availability at the time of registration, and proximity to worksite and town. Typically, you can expect to stay with the group in private rented homes within the town. The setup of each house is unique in the number of beds and rooms. You can expect to share a room with one to three fellow volunteers depending on group demographics and accommodations layout. While there is no traditional style hotel in town, it may be possible for us to arrange in a nearby town though this will be at an additional cost to the volunteer. There is a single supplement option of $265. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken in these homes. Lunches will be provided at the work site. Typical meals are often compared to Spanish, Cuban or Mexican cuisine with its plantains, corn, rice, papaya, tropical fruit, seafood, olive oil and chicken as main ingredients, often with adobo or sofrito spices. Running water and electricity is available, failing a weather event.
Volunteers usually have a couple of hours of planned free time per day, and 3 or 4 planned but optional cultural/leisure activities: some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, cobblestone streets of old Colonial San Juan, Bosque Estatal DE Guanica (Nature Reserve), “Gilligan’s Island,” Volkylandia Volkswagen Museum, local markets and more in this beautiful diverse landscape.
Arranging Your Volunteer Vacation Airfare
You have 2 options:
Option 1: The official meet up location after April 2018 is at the PONCE airport, about 35 minutes from our program site on the day your program starts. We will pick you up whenever your flight arrives on your program start date. If you arrive before 3:00am on Saturday, you will be charged an additional $37 to cover additional room night and breakfast.
Option 2: Many choose to fly instead into San Juan so that they can experience and explore beautiful old San Juan and its cobblestone streets AND because the airfare from your departure city may be considerably cheaper. San Juan is approximately 2 hours away from our program site location. You can choose to get yourself to the Ponce airport independently, and let us know (in advance) what time to pick you up from there OR we can help arrange private transport to our program site for $175 (up to 3 passengers for this price), in which case we can tailor the pick up time to your arrival. Uber does exist there but we have found difficulty getting Uber drivers willing to drive one way that considerable distance.