During the Spring/Summer of 2018 the Impossible Roads Foundation along with several volunteers went on a relief and outreach trip to Puerto Rico with the help of the Red Cross and other relief organizations. We, using our relief boat outfitted with shipping containers as cargo, were able to take building supplies, water purification systems, food supplies, mold resistant mattresses, beds, and clothes to the inhabitants of Puerto Rico.
Upon arrival, we noticed that it was less chaotic then our first trip, but the need was still great and the devastation heart-wrenching. Most of the roads had been cleared so we were able to go from site to site unencumbered by fallen trees and debris from hurricane-ravaged houses. Our outreach team traveled the island with our relief bicycles and large backpacks and made contact with our outreach coordinators on the ground.
Along the continuum of rescue, relief and recovery, we found Americans in Puerto Rico to be between the relief and recovery stages. We arrived in San Juan, but we spent a lot of time in the hard-hit municipality of Arroyo. The houses and buildings had been destroyed and the infrastructure was decimated. Except for sources of clean water and some sporadic return of some utilities, not much had seemed to change from the last time we arrived. The inhabitants that remained were very appreciative of the provisions we brought. The Chrome Barrage Pro Backpack was a welcomed asset…especially since we needed to keep the bedding and clothes we brought dry and mold free. The wool socks Chrome Industries provided were met with great excitement. Until you have everything taken away or destroyed, it is hard to fathom how something as simple and basic as a pair of socks can turn a persons outlook around. We gave about 500 pairs of socks throughout our trip, and every exchange was met with heartfelt thanks, big hugs and tears of gratitude.
All in all, the entire trip was very successful, we disbursed all that we brought and made the connections that we set out to make. The Impossible Roads Foundation will continue to be in contact with the many people that we met in Puerto Rico. Many of the individuals we worked alongside now feel like family in just a few short weeks. Puerto Rico still has a long road ahead, and the main municipality of Arroyo shares the same struggles that many rural hamlets face that are located miles and miles away from the city and resource center of San Juan.
Moving forward and returning
The Impossible Roads Foundation did the very best we could to follow our humanitarian mandate to serve and walk alongside those in great need. Upon leaving, we always feel that we could do more and do better. Every relief trip, whether stateside or abroad, we constantly learn how to be better servants. Our Puerto Rico outreach mission was no different. We will continue to learn, grow, serve, and add all those we encountered to our database of need and opportunity.
We will also continue to maximize and document all the good things that come from Chrome Industries’ kindness and generosity. To date, because of Chrome Industries willingness to provide the Impossible Roads Foundation with a Barrage Pro Backpack, socks and clothes…hundred’s of lives, both in mainland USA and its island territories, have been changed and elevated for the better.