Hurricane Georges went through Puerto Rico in 1998.
I was in my second year of college, still navigating the new lifestyle of being far from my family and, well, college.
It was the town of Utuado, deep in the highest mountains of the island and up there the water service didn’t came back for months. We carried drinking water and our dorm owner had a rain water collector that was used for the toilets and other non-cosumption purposes.
Most people didn’t had additional water to shower with, for example. So one night someone broke into our college campus and plugged a hose to a working water line – some parts of the campus were hooked to a cistern – and that hose was long enough to go back out, into the street.
What I remember is the line of people waiting with their towels and change of clothe in hand, talking agreeably. Someone brought music – I think it was a car – not loud and obnoxious but as background sound. People were getting showers in groups of three to five, some were courageous enough to wash their hair – in those temperatures.
Everyone was friends that day. People were sharing flashlights (no electric power either), all groups were talking, no one cared what sorority or fraternity you belonged to; we were all the same.
The camaraderie that I remember from that day gives me hope.