by Mary Hart, project manager/senior data assets specialist, for the Puerto Rico blog series
I traveled to Puerto Rico, alongside my husband Greg, because it fit well with what we enjoy doing—which is traveling and experiencing other cultures. With this trip, we not only got to do that, but we also were afforded the chance to help others.
During our time there, I felt most challenged by the language barrier. It made me realize the importance of learning other languages as it can be helpful in meeting the needs of lots of different people. I was also physically exhausted by the work we did in the distribution center and traveling to the mountains. Both activities proved to be quite labor intensive and thus difficult at times.
All of the difficulties I felt still pale in comparison to my many rewarding experiences while on the island. I remember bonding with two other women over our grandchildren. Although we didn’t speak the same language, we were still able to foster a connection as we traded pictures and laughs over our love for them. Handing out gifts for the Three Kings Days celebration was especially satisfying, as I could see the happiness and appreciation of the young people.
One of the more unexpected experiences was traveling into the mountains. The condition of the roads came as a surprise, as I didn’t expect them to be in such disrepair. Yet while we were up there, we were able to help so many of the residents, including an elderly woman I won’t soon forget. She lived in a home that was hidden from view, and we were able to provide her with much needed food and supplies.
In addition to the help we provided to the residents, it was nice to spend time with my co-workers, especially those I don’t see much of outside of the office. Even in a non-work environment, we made for a great, collaborative team.
To learn more about HRG’s time in Puerto Rico, read the rest of the blog series.