“Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s ‘monkey island.’ The surviving primates could help scientists learn about the psychological response to traumatizing events.”
“Glenna Gordon for The New York Times”
This is a longer read than normal; the article, though, is a journey through the trauma that Hurricane Maria visited on the inhabitants — human and others – of Puerto Rico and its islands.
by Luke Dittrich
“On Valentine’s Day, 2018, five months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Daniel Phillips stood at the edge of a denuded forest on the eastern half of a 38-acre island known as Cayo Santiago, a clipboard in his hand, his eyes on the monkeys. The island sits about a half-mile off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico, near a village called Punta Santiago. Phillips and his co-workers left the mainland shortly after dawn, and the monkeys had already begun to gather by the time they arrived, their screams and oddly birdlike chirps louder than the low rumble of the motorboat that ferried the humans.
“The monkeys were everywhere. Some were drinking from a large pool of stagnant rainwater; some were grooming each other, nit-picking; some were still gnawing on the plum-size pellets of chow that Phillips hurled into the crowd a half-hour before. Two sat on the naked branch of a tree, sporadically mating. They were all rhesus macaques, a species that grows to a maximum height of about two and a half feet and a weight of about 30 pounds. They have long, flexible tails; dark, expressive eyes; and fur ranging from blond to dark brown.”
by Stephanie O’Neill
“One of the final memories Carol Holcomb has of her pine-shaded neighborhood was the morning sun that reflected red and gold on her trees last Nov. 8. That day, she said, promised to be a beautiful one in the Butte County town of Paradise.
“So she was surprised to hear what sounded like raindrops tapping her roof a short time later. Holcomb, 56, stepped outside to investigate and saw a chunk of pine bark floating down from the sky.
“‘It was about 3 inches by 2 inches,’ she said. ‘And it was smoking.’
“In the commotion of evacuating from Paradise, Carol Holcomb lost a backpack containing her mother’s Bible, her grandfather’s Purple Heart medal from World War I and photographs of both of them. Thanks to a good Samaritan, she recovered the backpack containing the family treasures.” (Michelle Camy for KHN)
“It was her first glimpse of the approaching wildfire that would become the deadliest and most destructive in California history — one she continues to relive in debilitating nightmares and flashbacks.
“The Camp Fire virtually incinerated Paradise, a town of 27,000. It killed 85 people in the region — many of them elderly. Most died in their homes — others while fleeing in their cars or trying to flee on foot.”
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Aug. 14, 2018. A Pennsylvania grand jury says its investigation of clergy sexual abuse identified more than 1,000 child victims.” — MATT ROURKE / AP
“A state study released Thursday (February 14, 2019) found the number of Pennsylvania children killed or nearly killed after abuse had occurred spiked recently, increases likely driven by a new definition of abuse and an uptick in its reporting in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky and Roman Catholic clergy child sexual abuse scandals.
“The state Human Services Department report into fatalities and near fatalities during 2015 and 2016 showed both types of reports were up sharply after being fairly level for the preceding six years.
“The number of substantiated fatalities and near fatalities ranged between 80 and 92 from 2009 through 2014. In 2016, that number was 127.”
by Tanya Fritz
“Words like trauma-informed and resiliency get thrown around a lot these days. And for many, the visions they call up are a bit too glossy. You see resiliency and trauma-informed aren’t always pretty. Resiliency can look like closing the bathroom door and collapsing in tears… but then washing your face and going back into the world, carrying the belief that you can survive and the hope that things will get better.
“It looks like begrudgingly going on that walk with a friend, when the little voice inside is yelling at you to just grab a bag of chips and curl up on the couch with Netflix. Heck, you might even go back to the couch after the walk. It means saying the wrong thing, then being brave enough to go back and apologize. Resiliency doesn’t mean that life doesn’t get you down, that you don’t still stumble, or that you don’t sometimes still make the wrong choice.
“Resiliency means that all of that happens, and through support and self-regulation, you are able to continue to keep moving forward. Even if every day isn’t always better than the last, your overall trajectory is still forward. Resiliency is a journey full of twists and turns. We make get off track, but we ultimately know where we are headed.”
“US researchers have found early intervention can help prevent negative experiences in infancy turning into long-term health risks”
Illustration: Nathalie Lees
by Lauren Zanolli in New Orleans
“When Sabrina Bugget-Kellum walked into a neighbourhood clinic in New York for a routine appointment in in 2016, she was desperate. Her son was in prison. She was trying to look after his two young children, who were aged one and two. Their mother was emotionally unstable. Bugget-Kellum did not want the chaos of the adults’ lives passed down to another generation.
“‘We didn’t know if they would be safe with their mother,’ she recalled recently. ‘I began to pray, please God, I need some help. There were so many things going on.’
“While at the clinic, Bugget-Kellum learned about a new parenting programme designed for carers of young children who have faced early adversity such as domestic abuse, homelessness or the loss of a parent to incarceration. ‘It was like I had my ammunition and I knew how to fight,’ said Bugget-Kellum of the programme.”
At bottom there is a revolutionary idea. It’s about moving from ‘what’s wrong with you?’ to ‘what happened to you?’ – Leslie Lieberman
Click here to continue reading this article at The Guardian.