Hello reddit! Just wanted to make this AMA in case anyone had question about how it's like living in Puerto Rico as a college student right now. Proof: https://imgur.com/a/J80ka (That's me infront of University of Puerto Rico in Bayamon's basketball court)

EDIT: Here is a supply list for possible donations: http://www.masbia.org/puertorico

Thanks to u/elainarosanotrose

Comments: 178 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

coryrenton75 karma

how effective has solar chargers been in this situation? are there any particular brands or devices that have a developed a reputation for being more useful than others?

Atetsufooj90 karma

Sadly I haven't been able to get my hands on a solar charger. I have seen a lot of my friends using them and they love it while they last. The thing is though I haven't heard of any solar charger that doesn't break in a month or less. I think the problem in PR is that the heat can get so bad that solar chargers just break and people here are not going to want to spend extra money on a better charger that won't break in those situations.

Sorry that I don't know about any brands though...

coryrenton15 karma

how do you deal with the heat in general?

Atetsufooj52 karma

Usually we use a gasoline-powered generator specifically for charging phones and powering fans so we don't die of heat. On some occasions when we don't have enough money for gasoline I'll go outside, cover myself in mosquitoe repellent and sleep on a hammock.

Actually, even when you're sleeping in your own room you have to cover yourself in mosquitoe repellent so you won't get bit. It can be frustrating because most of the time you have to apply it right after you've showered...

coryrenton15 karma

are there any places in PR that are naturally cool/mosquito free (like caves, underground bunkers, etc...)?

Atetsufooj35 karma

Nope. Unless the place has air conditioning you're basically one with mosquitoes 100% of the time.

itaisuke2 karma


Atetsufooj2 karma

Itai!!! Ya tienes luz? Jajaj

itaisuke2 karma

Estoy en florida en lo que pero en casa todavia no hay luz

Atetsufooj1 karma

Aww, por lo menos. Ya por mi casa estan trabajando y me dijeron que tal vez en una semana vuelve la luz. We'll be able to play soon lol

Eisigesis15 karma

Anker solar panels. Specifically the 21W model.

I sent one down to my family and it’s been so useful that they asked to send them more stuff like that. I wish I could send more cause I know they need it but this gear is pricey.

Atetsufooj16 karma

I'll look it up! Yeah, that's the thing, most people here can't afford pricey stuff and would rather rely on something they will work, like generators.

Mtnn51 karma

90 days without electricity seems like the premise for a lot of post-apocalyptic stories.

Have you noticed any services that have collapsed, either slowly or more quickly than you expected?

Is there anything like movie theatres or some kind of place you'd expect to be pretty dependant on power that's still running in a way that surprises you?

Atetsufooj154 karma

I've thought about this way more than I should. I was kind of amazed by how dark the night was when there are no street lights or any artificial lights for that matter. I was terrified whenever I had to go out late at night because everything was extremely dark and most of the time I was the only one out in the street (mom's a nurse and I'd use her ID to go out during curfew).

Burger King was a lifesaver. While most fast foods were closed or wouldn't allow you to charge your phone in the restaurant, they would allow you to bring a multi-plug to connect as many phones as you could AND YOU DIDNT EVEN HAVE TO EAT. I hate fastt foods but I'll never forget that.

squintydoeeyed11 karma


Atetsufooj13 karma

During the first few weeks there were a looot of home invasion from people taking advantage the blackout. A curfew was activated to lower the risks on these invasions and to be able to control the situation. I think the first curfew started at 6PM to 6AM or something like that

Atetsufooj36 karma

Pandemic, Monopoly, Dead of Winter (plus the expansion), poker( just got into it), One Night Ultimate Werewolf (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), Forbidden Island (it's like Pandemic), Betrayal in House up on the Hill (something like that) and more!

Ironyingoutwrinklies32 karma

What do you think could have been done better to prepare and respond to the hurricane and the damage it caused?

MilesofBooby136 karma

Spending the last few decades improving infrastructure would have been a huge help.

Atetsufooj88 karma

You're getting downvoted but I agree with your statement! Not even a year has passed since Puerto Rico's last blackout because a power plant caught on fire. The whole island was without power for two weeks that time and there was no major disaster to provoke it.

cwigs9630 karma

Do paper towels help in your situation?

Atetsufooj48 karma

Not too much lol. People here are still pretty mad about that btw.... Myself including.

DongleNocker2 karma

What do you think he should have thrown into the crowd instead?

Atetsufooj45 karma

Nothing. I don't think it's a classy or respectful thing to do given the circumstance. Anyway, I don't want to get political :P

differencemachine24 karma

Has being without power changed any of your personal habits for the better or had any positive 'silver linings'?

Atetsufooj103 karma

You'd be surprised how quick you get accustomed. I haven't had power since hurricane Irma. I'm a pc gamer who plays LoL (diamond btw), WoW, etc.. Basically I had no life but staying at home, studying and gym. After having no electricity you are forced to look for other ways of entertainment and in this case the best one is socializing. My friends and I have played like twenty different board games since we lost power. I've made a lot of friends since then.

I guess there's your silver lining :)

mustardman134 karma

Is your computer dead now?

Mr_Scooty_Butt0 karma

You do realize you need electricity to operate a pc, right?

mustardman1314 karma

You do realize that the hurricane caused massive flooding and that water kills PCs, right?

Atetsufooj25 karma

My PC is ok guys! <3 I had the foresight to unplug my PC and put it on a table. Luckily there was no flooding in my area though.

threeehappymen16 karma

how are you on reddit?

Atetsufooj54 karma

My number one most asked question in other threads, thank you for asking it! Ok, so the only way I can be in Reddit or otherwise connected to the internet is because of my cellphone. The way that I charge my phone is either at night with the use of my gasoline-powered generator, during the day at my university, or whenever I'm in my car by using the cigarrette lighter thingy.

We usually spend around $15 a day on gasoline just for the generator (OUCH!).

mission2chill12 karma

I’m curious, does the university itself not have any power or do you not have power in your residence? Coming off of a 60ish day deployment, Bayamon was one of the first places I saw that had municipal power about a month after Maria, well before San Juan started making progress.

Atetsufooj21 karma

Yes, my university does have power! Fortunately my university was one of the first to get electrical energy and to commece giving classes. A lot of people were actually pretty mad about this because students from farther and more affected areas probably didn't have the means to starts studying yet. I, for one, had my car break down after Maria and it's been really difficult to go from Puerto Nuevo to Bayamon everyday. On top of that public transportation is pretty much horrible and unreliable right now.

hijack60911 karma

How has this affected your classes and living environment?

Atetsufooj35 karma

Some days can be extremely dull and boring. People say that this climate is the best but without the use of fans you get really hot and uncomfortable real quick. Imagine trying to sleep without a blanket because it's just that hot but wanting to cover yourself because mosquitoes are eating you alive.

Board games and friends have been a lifesaver. Weed and booze(casually) also makes time pass quicker.

Classes have become a lot harder. This semester I'm taking my thesis, calculus 2, theory of computing and data communications(computer science student). I've relied heavily on my phone to study for every class. Imagine having to look at a calculus pdf book on your phone to study and check for answers on a different pdf book.

I recently turned in an assignement 15 days late because I just didn't have access to a computer (not even in college because the ones available are in use all the time).

Lcfahrson9 karma

What board games have you guys been playing?

Atetsufooj10 karma

Lol, I had made my own comment instead making a reply to you. So here's my reply.

Pandemic, Monopoly, Dead of Winter (plus the expansion), poker( just got into it), One Night Ultimate Werewolf (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), Forbidden Island (it's like Pandemic), Betrayal in House up on the Hill (something like that) and more!

Lcfahrson1 karma

Do you like dead of winter or the stand alone expansion better, or have you guys mixed them together?

Atetsufooj1 karma

I like the original by itself better. It's possibly the best voard game I'vr ever played but it's really hard to set up and explain to new players. Adding a whole expansion on top of that just makes it even harder...

Lcfahrson1 karma

Do you feel any irony playing a game about struggling to survive while Puerto Rico is struggling without it's infrastructure?

Any jokes about needing gas in the game and in real life? Just curious

Atetsufooj1 karma

YES! I don't know if you've played the game but there is a crisis mechanic where everyone playing has to anonymously donate a resource or something bad happens... Whenever the crisis was a lack of gasoline we'd be like, "we know that feeling"!

Studog9 karma

As a Zimbabwean I k ow the struggle of power cuts.. our worst one was 2.5 months but there was a stage for about a year where every single day it went off for about 15 hours..

What I wanted to ask was what do you have in the way of gas cooking, inverters, water tanks, and hot water?

Atetsufooj1 karma

My goodness, to think that what I'm living through right now you've had to live through for much longer... We use a propane tank hooked to a stove for cooking, a gas generator for power and we don't use hot water or inverters.

Sorry for the late reply!

jjdmol7 karma

How has this affected daily life? No electronics, no fridge, etc. Are there also positive experiences due to this change?

Atetsufooj16 karma

Besides being a gamer I'm also a bodybuilder. Try being a bodybuilder when you have no fridge to keep food from getting rotten and no gym to go to... One of the worst parts about all this had been trying to get quality food in a daily basis. The first few months after Maria I didn't even care. I survived on anything that was available but even then I lost a lot of weight (mostly muscle \cry).

A lot of positive things like being more social have come with this change though.

delight_petrichor7 karma

Between yourself, your family, your community, and your friends, what things would help the most in lifting the mood and making people smile? You said you like board games, what else do people do for fun in such trying times?

Atetsufooj10 karma

Books! It took like a month for the first bookstores to open but when they did my girlfriend and I ransacked the place lol! My mom loves to crochet and watch stuff on the phone.

We would really love some of that good ol' electricity tho hahah

delight_petrichor5 karma

What's it like trying to acquire items, like solar chargers or books and games? Is it just a money issue, or is it functionally impossible to order things off Amazon, etc.? Is it 100% brick-and-mortar shopping?

Atetsufooj9 karma

Malls and shopping centers are mostly operational so most of us have these things available to us. The thing is that gasoline-powered generators are like black holes for money and on top of that we basically have eat out most of time. And yeah, UPS took 2 months to send a generator to one of my neighbors.

delight_petrichor5 karma

Jeez yeah, you can only buy so much! That's what government is for, it blows my mind that situations like this aren't at the top of their priorities. Like, literally... wtf is government for if not exactly this? One dude can't buy electricity for his whole town, you need a whole support system. Sorry I can't be more help, but I hope you and people like you keep doing AMA's to keep us all aware. We need to know!

But I mean, like, I could help a little. How much does a decent solar charger cost?

Atetsufooj7 karma

I'm so sorry for replying so late. My phone died earlier and now I'm finally charging it again lol.

That's what's so sad about this situation. Other places affected by the recent flurry of hurricanes have already recovered almost completely but PR just can't get it's shit together.

I have no idea how much solar chargers cost though :(

Puntential5 karma

Hey man, soy de PR también and from a more fortunate part of the metro area with electricity. Just wanted to ask if you needed help with anything else? I know things get tough with no power.

Atetsufooj4 karma

Funny thing is, almost everyone around me has electricity.Pero honestamente, I'm a lot better off than most people so I don't complain. Thank so much for offering :) If you're close to plaza one day it'd be cool to chat though!

Puntential3 karma

Alright, sounds cool! I'm also a Dia LoL player but decayed to Plat (lol) because of Maria. Tu me dices y le caigo!

Atetsufooj3 karma

Duuude, hell yeah! Can you drop your ign? Mine is atetsu.

Puntential2 karma

LAN or NA?

Atetsufooj2 karma


highhopes425 karma

Did you have the option to displace and continue your education in the states? Do you know anyone that has done this? A lot of universities here in Miami were taking in students and helping with tuition and finding a place to stay.

Atetsufooj14 karma

Yes, I did have the option to go to the states. I didn't want to leave my mom alone in PR in this situation though. This is my last semester and when I graduate I'm looking to move to the US. Hopefully not Florida (even though I was born there) because I'm sure jobs must be scarce with how many puertoricans moved over there these past few months.

WiseWordsFromBrett4 karma

Are there new jobs created by this situation? Can you go help and make $20 an hour doing it?

Atetsufooj10 karma

Absolutely! FEMA especially created a lot of jobs to help with the situation. Some jobs include social workers, psychologists, electrical engineers, people who check insurance claims, etc...

66944994 karma

What the most surprising to you about this whole experience?

Atetsufooj13 karma

How nasty people can be during a traffic jam due to no semaphores. Or how horrible it is to wait under the blistering morning sun for five hours just to get some gasoline.

It's also very surprising and lovely how some neighbors really band together help each other out with the essentials.

What I was most surprised about was how many people went to live in the mainland US and left their pets behind to live on the streets.

0129930809676 karma

What I was most surprised about was how many people went to live in the mainland US and left their pets behind to live on the streets.

Airlines put a weight limit on what animals people could take with them, I think they had to be under 25lbs. Not saying that's the entire reason for the problem, just part of it.

Atetsufooj2 karma

I didn't know about that. If I had decided to move I would've had to leave my Great Dane then. Thanks for the info, gives me a new perspective.

archydarky4 karma

That's sad about the pets being abandoned. Aquí en los eeuu la gente prefieren morirse ellos mismos en vez de los animales. Anyways, semáforo is stoplight in english.

I hope you guys recover quicker!


Atetsufooj7 karma

Ah, I knew there was a word for it! Yeah, the first two months I made good bit of money running a "daycare" for dogs at my house. Are you boricua too?

spawnofbacon4 karma

Who does your eyebrows? They’re magnificent.

Atetsufooj5 karma

Lol are you a friend of mine pranking me? I do my own eyebrows, thanks!! :)

Piracanto2 karma

Anyone that has lived in PR know this is a peculiar occurrence that rarely happens anywhere else.

Extraño las Medallas mano, salud y suerte!

Atetsufooj2 karma

Sip! En pocos lugares del mundo los hombres se hacen las cejas sin discriminacion. Gracias bro, igual!

nanoH2O4 karma

I'm coming to hang and vacation in San Juan in a week. Will I be able to run around at night and spend all my money on alcohol (ie contribute funds to the rebuilding)?

Atetsufooj4 karma

Hahaha, yes, you will! I recommend visiting "la placita" in Santurce.

AntiAbleism3 karma

Are the cellular towers working?

Atetsufooj12 karma

Now most of them are functional and there almost 100% coverage of the island. A lot of the coverage is thanks to Google's globes they have floating around. Right after Maria though, cell phone companies like Tmobile and Claro had no coverage because their towers were damaged.

Squirrelyparadiddle3 karma

Are you guys still getting supplies? In the US people are still doing fundraising for supplies and I'm curious if they are getting there.

Atetsufooj8 karma

Yes, I've seen people in my neighborhood passing water and rations. It has happened way less often than we would've liked though. The first few months we had very little help with anything.

SuperChewbacca2 karma

What kind brand and size of generator do you use? What has proven to be the most reliable generator brand from your observations?

Atetsufooj6 karma

Right now I'm using a UST GG7500N 7.5Kw generator. It's 100% overkill for the little things we use. The thing is, that we were gifted our new generator because we had an old 2.5Kw generator that broke down, but the 2.5Kw one was a lot more economical than the new one.

As for reliability, honestly, I haven't seen anyone have generator problems that weren't caused by improper care. Most people don't do the frequent oil changes and filter cleaning that you're supposed to.

NLJeroen2 karma

With 7.5 kW you could hook up the neighbors as well.

Atetsufooj2 karma

That's what we're doing! Everyone is chipping in with the gas so we can all have the essentials.

mclavastar2 karma

What do you think of the Whitefish contract? How was it generally received in Puerto Rico? When Donald Trump came to visit Puerto Rico how was his visit viewed by people ? Do you think if Puerto Rico had been a state in the United States it would have changed how aid was delivered and the response time? What do you think of the death doll number of 62 currently being reported by the NYT? Do you think it is a reliable representation of how many people have died in Puerto Rico? Has your opinion changed for better or worse about the politicians in Puerto Rico and in the US regarding with their reponse to this event?

Atetsufooj3 karma

Damn. Lots of questions but I have to give it a try...

Whitefish was considered to be a government conspiracy to steal money by taking advantage of the situation.

Donald Trump visiting is considered to be negative, but the president of the US visiting is considered positive. Do you know what I mean?

Absolutely! If we were a state we'd be up and going by now. My opinion of course...

The death toll number is heavily underestimated. It feels like they only count the amount of people who died during the hours of the hurricane and not the hygienic/economical disaster that came afterwards.

I thought my opinion of the puertorican government couldn't have been worse but it did.

f5nbandit2 karma

I was in Aguadilla in October and the big issue, besides electricity, seemed to be potable water. There wasn’t any available in stores.
Has the water situation gotten any better?

After working there I think the electrical problem was worse than the road issues.

The people seemed very resilient, but after another 45 days I am sure Maria fatigue is setting in.

Atetsufooj2 karma

I was fortunate enough to have water after onlu two weeks. I can't imagine being without water for much longer than that. From what I've seen/heard though it seems almost everyone has water at this point.

Middleman791 karma

Isnt Puerto Rico part of the USA? Why have they left you guys to rot? There seems to be money for constant war.

Atetsufooj3 karma

Yep, we're part of the US. I think they've payed little attention to us because we're just commonwealth and not a state.

darpey1 karma

How do you know if you still need to wipe?

Atetsufooj13 karma

I smell it.

t0b4cc020 karma

Why do you say no electricity but hold a running smartphone wich requires electricity into the camera wich also requires electricity?

Atetsufooj3 karma

I already responded this question but I'll go at it again. Most of us without power are using gasoline-powered generators to charge phones, power fans (so we don't die of heat) and use lights.

ClusterFSCK-1 karma

How do you feel about your parents consistently voting to avoid becoming a state, but now you're left as a second class, territorial citizen of a country where 40% of its actual citizens think you're Mexican?

Atetsufooj3 karma

Well, actually I don't know if you've heard of the plebiscite vote where 97% of voters voted for statehood. I do feel like we're secondclass citizens though.