MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico - English teacher Miguel Arce is popular among his students at Eugenio Maria De Hostos High School in Mayaguez.
After Hurricane Maria, he relates to them now more than ever.
"This school is one of the amazing places I have worked at. It feels normal here. And the kids, just by looking at them they look happy and they're dealing with their stuff and they're dealing with the same issues I am. So, I got to just suck it up," Arce said.
Call it luck or ideal placement, but after Maria hit, the high school was one of the first schools to open in the area offering electricity and water.
Nearly three months after the storm, internet remains intermittent and challenges are the new normal.
"If you look around the classroom, half of these kids don't have electricity, including myself," Arce said.
He works two jobs to pay the bills and goes home to spend the evening in darkness. Half of his students are in the same situation.
"Even before the rain started, we lost power," 11th- grade student Andres Arcaya said.
"It's hot and there was no water and we were sweating. All the misquotes and all of that," 11th- grader Issary Cotto said.
Arce admits that life after the storm is frustrating and exhausting, but he says he will not give into self-pity.
"We're almost 100 days in and we still have no electricity. But it was, it destroyed us. We have to look at it like that. If we whine, if we whine too much, we don't get solutions. What we want right now is solutions. Try to fix everything," Arce said.
The building that was originally created to educate minds is now mending spirits.
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