Friday, September 21, 2018

A New Dawn: How Music Helped My Island Heal

by Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD

A year ago yesterday, on September 20, 2018, Hurricane María made landfall in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico at 6:15 AM, changing the island in an instant. From that day on, what had been easy became difficult or impossible and, for nearly everyone, the basics previously taken for granted were suddenly gone, overnight. Although many outside the island didn't grasp how unprecedented these events were, the uniquely hospitable and resilient people of Puerto Rico faced the disaster with inspiring generosity, grit, and grace.

Yesterday, beauty and hope filled Yabucoa's skies at exactly the same time as the storm hit a year ago. Alberto Carrión joined the University of Puerto Rico Choir (Cayey campus) to sing Amanecer Borincano, which speaks of a new dawn in the land of Borínquen, the Taíno Indian name for the island of Puerto Rico.


Directed by internationally renowned choir conductor, Amarilis Pagán-Vila, the choir greeted the one-year anniversary with joyful singing. Sprinkled throughout is the heartwarming song of our beloved coquí, as if to remind us, "I'm still here. Don't you worry. I'm still here."


This beautiful tribute to the spirit and soul of the people of Puerto Rico reminds me that a rainbow awaits us after every storm even if, at times, we can't discern it fully or must wait for its full display.  

May this gesture of hope fill our hearts with the joy of living and help us count our blessings today and every day. And may it move us to pray for and support those now finding their way to a new life after Hurricane Florence as well.

Watch the video (in Spanish) here.

Let the Light Shine!

Dr Mari

For more inspiration in light of the hurricanes, read A Poem for Borinquen (and a Message of Hope).

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