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Day 5 and 6: Earthquake and No Internet

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Another community filter and the hunt for more buckets.

Day 5 (Internet Down)

The beach restaurant, La Rinconada (the corner place), in Guayanilla is the perfect place for a 200- gallon community filter. Owner/cook Herminio (on the right) and cook Victor (on the left) just opened after a month-long closure.

The earthquake hit this area especially hard; many homes are off limits marked by police yellow tape.

Water pipes were damaged, causing small “explosions” in the road when the utility pumps water. As a result, little if any water is reaching homes. Since the pipes are broken, water arriving at the house is contaminated during transport.

Houses that are marked with a red “X” are condemned by an engineer (below left).

The beach area subsided about 6 inches, flooding areas that were behind berms ( above right). Locals are saying the original beach profile was steep, but the sand brought in and subsidence has formed a gentler incline. We celebrated the installation with the most delicious conch empanadas while looking out to the new beach!


Day 6 (A Saturday trip to Hatillo and Bayamon to pick up buckets and lids)

After purchasing all the white 5- gallon food safe buckets in Ponce, we were in need of 200 buckets and 110 orange lids. Home Depot was short on both items. No problem I thought, I’ll order from another Home Depot. You can image my frustration when I found that shipping merchandise between Home Depots isn’t practiced in Puerto Rico! The helpful employee searched inventory in several stores and found a stash at two on the north coast about

2 1/2 hours away.

On Saturday morning, I set out in my tiny Kia, emptied of Sawyer units, various filter parts and the backseats lowered to make a hatchback.

Little did I know my wide lovely Highway 10 reverted to an old corkscrew path through the mountains. In daylight the single lane road, canopied by large trees, was manageable, but the night turned it into a horrid challenge complicated by heavy rain and fog! 110 lids were tucked in among the 70 buckets filling every slit and open space. Photo is from inside the Kia.

The first store was a few miles west of Arecibo. Yes, the famous observatory featured in the movie Contact. The observatory is 25 minutes from the south of the beach city, built into a dormant caldera. The center was closed due to recent earthquake activity over the last month and today a 5.0 M rocked the southern coast.


Thank you for your interest in Puerto Rico. Keep checking in on this blog to follow our filter installations and our efforts to address the needs of the community.


To donate to bring fresh water to those affected by the earthquake, click here.


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