Bringing Hope: A Disaster Relief Journey

This is an excerpt from Chapter Thirteen - Lady Liberty Stands Sentinel - Daily Journals of Hurricane Sandy

I'm just arriving in New York State as I begin to prepare to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

"With GPS in hand, I leave White Plains with four volunteers from Puerto Rico. We are told, via a recorded message from the twenty-four-hour staffing line, to proceed to a YMCA in Yonkers.

The three Puerto Rican men don’t speak any English; only the woman speaks some. I took a year of Spanish in my freshman year of high school, but I’ve retained very little. One gentleman quickly commandeers the car key from the rental agent. He is clearly intent on driving, despite our inability to communicate verbally. With our location entered into the GPS, we head toward our unknown destination, in the dark, in an area of the country we are all unfamiliar with.

With the use of hand signals pointing left and right, along with directions from my GPS, and some interpretation from Maria in the back seat, we successfully maneuver the freeway system of New York State. When I need to tell the driver to stay in our current lane, I use one of the few Spanish words I know—aqui. I hope that he understands that I want him to continue in this lane.

Along the way, we see long lines at the gas stations calmly watched over by police officers. The hurricane has caused shortages because gas stations and gas suppliers have been without power. I suppose if you purchase gas in the middle of the night, the lines aren’t as long as during the day."

You will learn more about this midnight journey when my book is released on August 1, 2017