In the late afternoon of January 13, 2020, the Puerto Rican Agenda donated $2,000 to the efforts of the Brigada Psicólogxs del Oeste (Psychologists Brigade of the West) for its ad hoc campaign of providing psycho-emotional support and psychosocial health services to the people and the communities of southwestern Puerto Rico that were affected by the earthquakes of January 6 and 7. This area includes the municipalities of Ponce, Peñuelas, Guayanilla, Yauco, Guánica, Sábana Grande, Maricao, Lajas, and San Germán.
The first $1,000 dollars were spent on buying needed supplies that were donated to the communities visited, and the second $1,000 dollars were used to pay small daily stipends, for travel and food, as travel was necessary throughout the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico and into the mountains.
Beginning January 14, eight psychologists, one social worker, and one collaborator were mobilized to identify the needs and the communities to be visited. Three other psychologists had already begun to visit communities from January 8 – 13.
Based on written and unwritten reports, more than 300 people, directly and indirectly, benefited from the professional training “charlas” (workshops) that took place in 12 community camps. Moreover, resources and educational materials were brought to five camps. Many of these resources were given out as needed while providing psych support.
Unquestionably, the support of the Puerto Rican Agenda has been a blessing; not just for the communities in need, but also for the professionals affected by the situation, and upon labor, and the economy. “Mi casa es tu casa” (My house is your house) we often say, but when everyone’s houses are affected, indeed the entire island’s houses are affected, the loss of that special place is deeply traumatic, as it was for our people who migrated to the US over the past decades for different reasons, such as the recent Hurricane María.
Thank you, Chicago for sharing “tu casa” (your house).
Dr. Iris Zavala Martínez, Brigada Psicologxs del Oeste