Former Racine resident living in 'scary times' in Puerto Rico

Posted at 10:15 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 23:15:56-04

A former Racine resident is living through the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and he says he is taking it day by day.

"It's scary times for people," said JC Marquez.

The infrastructure has been obliterated and the paradise is in a kind of dark ages. So far it has been eight days without power for Marquez and there are no clues of when it will return.

But Marquez did have a taste of normalcy for a few minutes today.

"Today, I had a pizza. That was amazing," Marquez said.

He has been eating one meal a day. The menu mainly consists of protein bars and canned goods. 

"If I am lucky enough throughout the night I can get like a sandwich," Marquez said.

Marquez grew up in Puerto Rico but moved to the Midwest for college where he lived in Racine for a time.

He is back living in Puerto Rico. He spent Wednesday in line for five hours waiting for gas with hundreds of other people.

"From my perspective cash holds very little value right now. Like it's all about gas and oil," Marquez said. "You see people negotiating gas for food or whatever the case might be." 

It's hard for Marquez to even recognize his life right now. He Facetimed TODAY'S TMJ4 from a parking lot near some stores where there is a cell signal. Most days his cell phone is useless.

Marquez is used to living a nice middle-class life in a gated community in Puerto Rico. 

"A month ago I was in Milwaukee at the Puerto Rican Day festival enjoying myself and now trying to plan and see where my next meal and how long the next line is, it's unreal," Marquez said.

His most prized possession right now is an old digital watch so he knows what time it is. He is also digging out his bike from the garage hoping someone can help him fix the tires.

"Just living on a day to day basis," Marquez said.