Under a clear, dusky sky, a small group of children sat down in plastic chairs while older members of the community stood behind, all facing dimly projected image in an improvised outdoor theater. We were in the center of the Playita community in San Juan, next to a small church building. A modest 1.5KW solar energy system provided electricity and lighting to the community through several public outlets and fixtures. As the video started rolling, the children excitedly pointed out each time a face they recognized appeared on the screen. Out of small portable speakers, the voice of community leaders, neighbors, and volunteers streamed with a first-hand recount of the destruction by hurricane María and the severe flooding that followed. A resident standing next to me, took out his phone and invited me to lean in and look over the photos he took of the flooding in same street we were in.
It was June 1st, the beginning of the hurricane season, and there was no better way to acknowledge this than remembering what we went through and taking the first steps in a new direction for a stronger, more resilient community.
The Playita solar energy and lighting systems was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities.