Hugo Olaiz, Forward Movement Associate Editor for Latino and Hispanic Ministries, recently had a chance to interview Isabel Lynn Ramos, October 2021 author for Forward Day by Day.
Below is an excerpt from their conversation. Click here to listen to their entire conversation (in Spanish) on the Forward Day by Day podcast (episode released on September 30, 2021).
Where are you from? What’s your profession?
I grew up in Toa Baja, a small town in the north of Puerto Rico. I have a degree in education with an emphasis on elementary school teaching. I later obtained a master’s degree in school administration. I have worked for eight years as a school principal and in the Early Head Start program.
How did you end up writing for Forward Day by Day?
I used to have a notebook where I would write down scriptural passages and my own spiritual meditations. That book ended up in my parents’ home, and in 2017, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the house was flooded, and my notebook was lost. I was very saddened. Yet I believe that God intervened: when I learned about Forward Movement’s call for writers, I locked myself in my room and wrote the meditation samples. Only a few days later you called me, inviting me to write about my life experiences. The interactions and encouragement that I received from you and your colleagues have been a wonderful gift. I still can’t believe this is happening!
What would you like people to take away from your meditations?
I wrote about things that I have experienced in my time and place—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope and know many people will identify with my experiences.
Tell us briefly about the experiences you had in your neighborhood after Hurricane Maria.
Thousands in Puerto Rico were left homeless and ended up in shelters. People in our neighborhood lost everything. We had no electricity, water, or supplies. So we got organized to help each other. The neighbors set up teams to clean up the mud and debris. We also organized communal meals: on a specific date my mother would cook, then a next-door neighbor, and so forth. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, as if we were a family. And the Episcopal Church did tremendous work all across Puerto Rico, bringing emergency supplies, food, and water; they also spent time encouraging and praying with people. We grew up as a neighborhood and also as a church.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I’m so grateful to you and the Forward Movement staff! Thank you for trusting this Puerto Rican woman to write these meditations.