Almost a year after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island’s ailing power infrastructure, the Ruiz family is one of 1,000 still off the grid

They have eaten by candlelight for the past 10 months, powerless and isolated.

Their small home, with its wooden walls and tin roof, nestled high up in the hills of Utuado province, somehow survived Hurricane Maria without a scratch. Most others in the surrounding area of this mountainous region were swept apart by the wind. But the hurricane’s raw strength last September didn’t leave everything on their property unscathed. It uprooted a mango tree a few metres down their steep pathway, which crashed onto a pylon that had brought electricity up the slope for 23 years and cut this family of four off from the grid for almost a year.

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