46 days after Maria we had our first game at Archery Tag San Juan. We were stoked, but not because we were finally able to reopen our business after almost 2 months; what was exciting was that after so much suffering, we were able to give people something to smile about. For 24 kids from the Boys and Girls Club, a game of Archery Tag wasn’t just a fun outing, it was an escape from suffering.
On September 20, 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by hurricane Maria. Maria wreaked havoc on our beloved island, leaving the flowering isla del encanto in shambles. Completely cut off and without any means of communication, we found ourselves in the middle of a disaster zone without electricity, water or gas, and with very little food. The entire island was in darkness, including the hospitals and airports. People lost their homes. Rivers overflowed, sweeping away bridges and isolating entire communities. For weeks we were disconnected from the world, stuck on an island, feeling extremely hopeless. But then, as a community, we responded for one another. We, the people, cleaned up our homes, streets, and schools. We took care of, protected, and fed one another. And together, members of that same community helped recuperate and rebuild Archery Tag San Juan.
Like the rest of our island, Archery Tag San Juan suffered losses. Our playing field was destroyed and the estate was stripped clean of everything green. Our trailer was flipped by the 175 MpH winds, flooded, and left with 2 feet of mud. It was hard work, but we were able to salvage some of our equipment out of the mess. The road to recovery has been long and unsteady, and after 68 days we still have a long road ahead of us, but together we can’t help but move forward.