By now we know that Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico.
After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico cell phone service and landlines stopped working along with water and electricity services. I tried to communicate with my family and my wife’s family for days with no success.
That’s when I decided to use social media to communicate with airlines, private organizations, government organizations and shipping companies to see what I needed to do to fly to Puerto Rico with supplies.
Twitter was the best tool. I was able to quickly communicate with JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, FedEx, and others. Spirit Airlines allowed me to bring extra suitcases on a flight leaving Orlando Internation Airport on 2 October and arriving in Aguadilla Puerto Rico.
Use social media to communicate with people and companies you believe can help you. Have a plan, know what you want and how they can help you achieve what you need. Be transparent and tell them you are planning to document the process and the “event” for proof and they can use your images and or videos.
The challenge with documenting the process whether is video or photos is that when you are doing everything by yourself you will forget to take photos and record videos. It happened to me on more than one occasion. Here is what I will do next time. I will take a person with the whole purpose of recording video and take photos.
Some will critique you for taking photos and recording videos others will doubt you if you don’t show proof. I will never put my integrity into question, my choice is to document the process.
Travel light. You don’t have to take a lot of cameras, lights, or tripods to document trips and donations like the one I did. A point a shoot camera that you can charge with a portable battery bank like the Sony RX100 (See on Amazon) is more than enough. Take a couple of SD cards, a battery bank, a Joby flexible tripod (see in Amazon) and you will be golding.
Even if you think you can help everyone that you cross path with, you can’t. Time and resources are limited and you must do what you can while you are there. Just know that going for two days is better than not going at all and helping one person is better than not helping anyone.
Just know that I felt sad when I left Puerto Rico because I wanted to do more and you will have similar feelings no matter what you do.