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Posted on Oct 19, 2017

These Photos Show How Residents Are Coping In Puerto Rico Nearly One Month After Maria

With aid slow to reach many towns in the nearly 30 days since Hurricane Maria made landfall, the island's residents are working together to get by.

Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, but nearly a month later, an estimated 83% of the island is still without power.

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Trash also remains uncollected since Maria swept through the town of Barceloneta, and many residents say they haven't seen any FEMA, Red Cross, or municipal workers.

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While waiting for aid, neighborhoods have been relying on donations of food and water. El Local, a neighborhood bar in Santurce, has been operating a community kitchen. El Local serves three free meals a day, made possible by food donations and volunteers.

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With donated groceries, Jose "Popo" Ortega and Jessie Castillo serve for breakfast bacon and veggie scrambled eggs at El Local.

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Daniel Cassady for BuzzFeed News

Here, a man hauls a donated case of bottled water into the community kitchen.

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People can volunteer for shifts and check out the kitchen's schedule on a paper board that hangs on a wall. The board also has space for anyone who wants to organize a class or put on a performance.

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In addition to free meals, El Local has opened up its space to the community for impromptu concerts, games, and — when there is the occasional burst of electricity — movies.

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The space affords residents some much deserved relaxation time and a sense of community that is lacking with so many stores and restaurants closed.

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As a way of contributing, Francesco Angelan and Veronica Gonzalez offer to clean the ears and clip the nails of any dogs who come to El Local with their owners.

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People also leave notes on the community message board at El Local in order to stay in contact with friends and family who may not have cell phone service.

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In Magueyes, a suburb of Barceloneta, three barbers set up a makeshift shop and gave haircuts outside under tarps.

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Residents have also been using creative means for removing personal items from their damaged homes, like here in Magueyes.

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Vicente Acebedo High School in Magueyes has been operating as a shelter since before Maria, and provides children with donated clothing.

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Agent Esther Castillo works as a guard at the shelter. Officers work 12-hour shifts with one day off per week.

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Airon Rosario, a massage therapist, has been offering free 15-minute massages. Here, he purifies the massage table by burning sage in preparation for his next customer.

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Margarita Centero, the director of the Centro Paso, met with community leaders in Aibonito to discuss relief efforts in the area. Topics included the lack of drinking water, the inconsistent arrival of aid packages, and methods for distributing donated clothing to the smaller barrios.

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Meanwhile, children play where they can, like outside of the Centro de Distribucion in Aibonito, which houses the essential aid items for hurricane victims.

Daniel Cassady for BuzzFeed News

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