Puerto Rico is confusing. I’ve been here for over a semester now and I couldn’t be more in love with this island, its people and its culture. At the same time, however, this U.S. territory is currently submerged in all kinds of financial and political instabilities. The headlines on the newspapers seem to get worse with each passing day and the upcoming elections just add a pinch more tension to the mix. But what I love about Puerto Rico is that despite all of these challenges, you still look around you and find mostly smiling faces. People with hope and innovative ideas that are sure to be the future of the success of Puerto Rico. Yes, the government wants to raise taxes and yes our status as a territory renders us unable to climb our way out of the turmoil but still there are brooding local business that support the local market and economy. There are people that truly want to take this island and make it into the beautiful and successful country that can come to be. I know that I am being very hopeful and optimistic. There is definitely a whole darker side to this story but that is not the point of this post.
There is a huge and misleading stereotype surrounding Puerto Ricans and that is that our culture is lazy. It is true that we work slightly differently and we are slower in certain things however when I look around me I see a population of people working for their future, for the future of their children. The university campus is full of students with a vision. And in the fields of Guanica, a small southern town in between Mayaguez and Ponce, there is a field of sunflowers that was brought from the ground up by a visionary. Once again I find the light in all of the darkness. I stumbled across the field (Finca el Girasol) one day and it still feels like a dream. Everywhere you looked there were enormous sunflowers, it felt like a fairytale. The field is not only a beautiful attraction for the wandering UF college girl but it also promotes learning and growth in schools, it teaches children and the general public about the growth and cultivation of this beautiful plant and it promotes local economy.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that there is always a positive and beautiful side to life and we just have to go in search of it.
I made a longer post and shared more pictures on my personal blog: http://laianaisabel.blogspot.com/2016/02/mar-de-girasoles-sea-of-sunflowers.html
Until next time,