Puerto Rican Businesses still struggling to fully recover from the impact of Hurricane Maria

Local businesses are reinventing their operations just to overcome the difficulties the Island experienced in the aftermath of a destructive natural event.

After almost a year from the impact of Hurricane Maria as many as 7,000 Puerto Rican local businesses remain closed. The central affection was the damage to the physical infrastructure and the inaccessibility to their locations. The 95% of the power grid was destroyed, this was another setback for those local businesses whos physical structures survived.

Not having electricity was the worst impact for Edwin Solano who is a local photographer that was unfairly affected by the destructive aftermath of the Hurricane. According to Mr. Solano, the Hurricane Maria changed his emotions causing a sentimental affection that put him against himself. That affection prevented him from being the happy person who he is all the time.

Thinking out-the-box pushed him out of the sadness emotional state, this activated his creativity, and many ideas helped him to reinvent his business operations. As part of the small business owners community, he managed to start doing new photographic offerings that attracted a new breed of clients who are in search of reliable services inside a deteriorated industry.

Events such as weddings, love stories, and maternity photography were suspended after the storm. Those events are part of the primary business source for Edwin Solano. He worked a solution to still work without the much-needed electricity service opening a new opportunity to encourage people to trust in his business and work quality.

According to an analysis released by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at New York’s Hunter College, “the market is shrinking as a result of an accelerating exodus of Puerto Ricans fleeing conditions on the island. An estimated 135,000 residents have relocated to the U.S. mainland since Maria.” Other business owners are also reinventing themselves to survive no matter the conditions and available resources. The residents who stayed in the Island decided that they want to be part of the recovering process efforts.

Debris and Waste Disposal a real challenge after the Hurricane Maria

ConWaste the local company who reinvented the debris and waste disposal process after the impact of Hurricane Maria over Puerto Rico.

After a destructive or catastrophic event, the amount of debris is immense and represents a real problematic. Puerto Rico experienced this situation recently and is still recovering from huge amounts of displaced debris all over the island. The day after the impact of Hurricane Maria, the desolation covered all locations impacting and disconnecting all the communities from the roads in every region.

During an interview offered by Maribelle Marrero who is the Vice President of ConWaste, she gave details about the recovery efforts they use for the cleaning and reorganizing of the island. She said that the company provided gas to their employees to assure they can go home and return to work every day. Also, providing them with gas was an exclusive provision behalf the company because the process of finding it at the gas stations was almost impossible.

According to conwastepr.com, Consolidated Waste Services, Corp. (ConWaste) is a Puerto Rico’s largest local waste management company, fully developed by Puerto Ricans since its foundation in 1993 in San Juan. ConWaste has offered its clients complete solutions for the management of solid, biomedical, and industrial waste, as well as a full recycling program in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

FEMA alongside with the US Army Corps of Engineers worked together to help the disposal management company by giving them a strict debris removal guideline. That guideline consisted on expedite the debris removal process. Their efforts were to maintain organization and calm inside a completely destroyed place. Also, their intentions to maintain a safe labor environment helped to save time and the security of those working towards the recovery and cleaning of the island.

Prevention and safety measures helped to reduce and maintain the after disaster casualties. The Island of Puerto Rico is on track to completely recover from obstructive and destructive debris, the roads are clear and most of them accessible to the regular traffic.

Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria – The Agriculture Sector is Alive and Improving

The Agriculture Sector is adopting new farming methods

The impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico was atrocious the whole population is still suffering and learning how to survive with the available resources. The survival instincts pushed different sectors to reinvent themselves and create new effective methods to put the Island back on track.

According to Carlos Flores Ortega the Secretary of Agriculture for the Department of Agriculture for Puerto Rico, eighty percent of the Island’s crop was destroyed. Mr. Flores Ortega is confident about the agriculture sector and its recovery. The government is also helping the farmers by promoting the local farming manufacturing and distribution and decreasing the import of food to the island from 80 percent to 70 percent.

This time the agriculture sector is working towards the progress and survival of its industry. Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters, LLC is a manufacturing and distribution coffee company on the Island that is working using an innovative farming method that is ‘eco-friendly’. The farming method consists of making the coffee crops more resistant to pests, drought, and low productivity. Their re-invention consists of a coffee-milling process that fossil fuel is not utilized to dry the coffee beans, helping reduce the environmental contamination.

Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters is a pioneer experimenting with new farming methods, according to their webpage, in 2015 they germinated and produced one million coffee trees this is thanks to the new crops that are resistant to the pests and drought. The same innovative farming method had been helping to the recovery of the agriculture sector after the impact of Hurricane Maria. They expect to harvest and produce new coffee by the year 2020 with an approximate 2.5 million pounds of coffee.

This initiative is already giving excellent results all around the island, other food farmers are already enjoying the stability after the disastrous remnants of the Hurricane Maria.




Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

The Island is still recovering from the catastrophic event

On September 20, 2017, the Island of Puerto Rico suffered the effects of the hurricane Maria. This was a category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 mph. This huge climate phenomenon struck the island during a period of almost 12 hours, leaving behind a massive destruction. The whole island was completely blacked out with the 100% of the electrical grid destroyed.

The communications infrastructure was almost completely down and damaged, the complete chaos reigned during the weeks after the storm. The local and federal government agencies struggled with the lack and ability to communicate and reach remote places inside the island. FEMA, the Armed Forces, the local government and other organizations including local artists worked together before, during and after the pass of the hurricane. 

The most critical part of all this catastrophe was immediately the pass of the hurricane, this was when everyone united themselves and worked together to survive and reconstructed the island. Today 9 months after the tragical event Puerto Ricans are more united than ever fighting against the desolation. The streets are mostly clear of debris, the power grid is 99% re-established and the residential infrastructure is in the reconstruction phase.

Their biggest concern is the reality of another active hurricane season, the risk of getting struck again by another natural phenomenon is more real than ever. The weak power grid is a time bomb that can be destroyed by any weather inclement. Some roads inside the remote parts of the island are still in the process of being reconstructed and the small progress can be damaged by any flood caused by heavy rains.

The people from Puerto Rico is well known for being resilient and resistant in front of any negative situation, they are not easy to give up. The island’s population is also well known for its bravery and strength to fight against any adversity.

Launching yourself as a photographer with a defined purpose

Jessica and her husband Cesar – Photo by Diane Rivera Estella

Born in the Island of Puerto Rico during the 90s, Jessica Cristina Bonet developed an eye for photography and exotic locations. Her unique eye has contributed to a unique style when developing poses, lighting, and composition for her people-based photography.

All of these elements are carefully planned by her as she seeks the desired result. Those results are inspired by a passionate purpose, a purpose inspired by the way she thinks of uses and captures light.

Her photography business is inspired by a Bible verse:

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

“The light that enters through the camera lens is the one that helps you capture the image on the sensor, so is the light of God that guides my path. As light is an important aspect at the time when capturing an image, it is the same way the light of God is essential on an individual life,” Cristina said.

Her religious view is part of her motivation to want to engage with people, to get to know them and to capture them in the most natural and beautiful way. Her interest as a photographer is targeted to family, couple and baby photography.

“Since I want to photograph the families, couples, and babies, then I think it ties in with the circle of life – from when you are a baby, graduating from school, getting married and having a baby. Also, I think it is related to when God, who guides our lives through his Word, which is the light, and he guides us through all the greatest stages of life,” Cristina said.

Cristina is continuously educating herself inside the photography business and is currently taking a seminar centered on the importance of having a business with purpose and performing with purpose. She has worked as a photographer since 2013, but without a clear idea of her role in the profession. She is reinventing her business and is currently constructing a new website with a renewed photographic style based on her beliefs and focused on family photography.


Cristina and her husband, Cesar, who is in the Air Force, currently live in  Guam with their 2 daughters. The dramatic landscape, beaches, and ocean views have inspired her to develop an interest in aerial photography, something which, of course, her husband supports. Her new and renovated photographic concept is imminently about to be launched this summer of 2018.

“When you have a purpose is when you work towards what you really want to have as a result. After knowing your purpose is when you work towards obtaining the desired results with a passionate dedication.” Cristina said.


The Expert, from being broke to being obsessed:


Sandra Coan Photography 2017
Elena S. Blair/ Photo by Sandra Coan

Elena S. Blair is a well-known artist from Seattle, WA, who is an award-winning Family and Newborn Photographer. Eleven years ago, her life was completely submerged in a big chaos, she was breaking in debt, was working exhausting hours as a registered nurse and had a newborn. At the moment she lacked from creativeness and was suffering from isolation and exhaustion. “Call it what you will, but I don’t believe in chance. Something inside me told me to just go for it. Something inside told me I needed an outlet and perhaps photography was it. I always trust my intuition.” Elena said.

Photography for her is essential to survive but not always was like that, as previously mentioned. Actually, she offers free seminars and tutorials on her website and publishes motivational advice to those who are still failing to launch themselves as artists due to demotivational events in life.

“I have a sincere desire to build community in the industry of photography. I love showing other women that they can pursue their dream to become a photographer and that they can build a meaningful and profitable business.” Elena said.


About Sandra. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sandracoan.com/about-sandra-coan-photography/

Ballendorf, D. A., & Foster, S. (2018, May 02). Guam. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/Guam

BibleGateway. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm 119:105&version=NIV

Elena Sanchez Blair (@elenasblair_photography) • Instagram photos and videos. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/elenasblair_photography/


What’s my Inspiration

Parker Walbeck- Full Time Filmmaker

The Filmmaker that traveled the World learning to be a better Cinematographer


Parker Walbeck is one of the best inspirations for any Filmmaker on this world. His motivations to travel 15 different countries are practice and gain experience. Parker’s own testimony is that, if you practice and experience you acquire knowledge, that’s why he traveled so much. He got a degree in Communications from The Southern Utah University, as soon as he started his studies he quickly recognized the opportunities to discover his unique passions.

After traveling the world he decided to share all his acquired knowledge in a unique way, now he is offering a “crash course” anyone who is interested to learn fast and easy. Actually he had worked for recognized brands doing commercials, weddings videography and short films. His style as a cinematographer is unique and pleasant to the eye, he implements the usage of gravity and motorized camera stabilizers. The combination of time lapses, super slow motion and fast forward techniques are what separate him from other young Filmmakers.