NOAA satellite view, September 28

Vieques

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For about 12 years my wife and I have owned a house on Vieques, a small island off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Vieques is a lovely place, especially if you want a peaceful and completely laid-back break from city life. There are no malls, casinos, golf courses, gated communities, or stop lights, and only one hotel that has more than twenty rooms. The beaches are gorgeous; when we go to our favorite, my wife expresses surprise if there are more than a few people on a mile-long stretch of pristine sand. There are some nice restaurants. We've come to love the island and the people we know there. Vieques isn’t a rich or fancy place, and although it feels a world away from the main island, it shares in all of Puerto Rico’s social and economic challenges. Last week our two closest neighbors, both Viequense, lost their wooden homes in the hurricane. You can read about Vieques and the storm in today’s New York Times.

Like us, I’m sure you are getting bombarded with requests to donate for hurricane relief. I find it difficult to be confident that I’m choosing the right organization since I’m often left feeling unsure about how my donation will be spent – I’m not very keen on funding CEO’s business class flights. But an acquaintance on Vieques in whom we have 100% confidence has started a fund (https://www.gofundme.com/viequeslove), and we are certain the money will be put to direct and good use on the island – in fact they’ve already provided some crucial supplies in advance of the arrival of the cavalry. But in any case, like all of the other stricken places you’ve heard about in the last few weeks, Vieques can really use the help. Thank you! Jamie Wolff