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Concert with Puerto Rican Music to Raise Money for Relief
September 28 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm$35
Marking the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and caused more than 3,000 deaths, The First Congregational Church of Darien is sponsoring a concert of Puerto Rican music to raise money to help rebuild the village of Mariana, Puerto Rico.
The music will be provided by the Norwalk-based band “Park City,” which will celebrate Puerto Rican culture at First Congregational Church from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28.
Tickets can be purchased online, here. TICKETS WILL NOT BE MAILED. Your name will be at check in. The $35 ticket price includes appetizers from La Esquina Del Mofongo. BYOB!
The people of Mariana are rebuilding their neighborhood with little government assistance.
We are supporting their self-reliance by raising funds for their community center. The funds raised at the concert will be used to help convert an abandoned schoolhouse in Mariana into a community center, El Centro de Imaginacion (“The Imagination Center”).
The center will include space and supplies for learning, art and music, lodging for visitors, and a business center for the area. The facility will support education and development of the village children and attract visitors for the arts and for business. The facility will also provide shelter from future storms.
“Our faith compels us to serve our neighbors, whether they are in the next town, in a different part of the country or around the world,” said Rev. Dale Rosenberger, senior pastor at the First Congregational Church.
“We want the people of Puerto Rico, who have still not recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, to know they are not forgotten. We are particularly gratified to support Mariana, which has shown resilience and self-motivation in the face of tremendous challenges.”
More About El Centro de Imaginacion
Mariana is a small mountain village of 3,300 clinging to the hills high above the city of Humacao at the far eastern end of Puerto Rico, the very place where Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20, 2017. It is a poor barrio, and elderly, whose residents largely work in Humacao’s pharmaceutical factories, or collect social security.
Like much of Puerto Rico, Mariana was devastated by Maria – plunged into darkness without power or water, its homes ruined and its community buildings shattered. It went without electricity for many months and even today full power has not been restored.
When the hurricane passed and it became clear that neither FEMA nor the local government could help them, two young local residents, Luis Rodriguez Sanchez and Christine Nieves, decided to take matters into their own hands.
Initially they had neither power nor water nor cellphone signal; just heat, an old community organization called ARECMA, friends in the US, and a vision of self-sufficiency.
Together Luis and Christine created Proyecto Apoyo Mutuo Mariana (Mutual Aid Project), which initially organized free meals out of Mariana’s damaged community center kitchen.
They began by feeding hundreds of people a day, with rice, pork and beans, rather than the MREs and tropical-flavored skittles provided by FEMA and the military.
Then they added a weekly health clinic, provided potable water, delivered meals to the elderly, and offered and classes in chess and bomba dance for bored kids who had no schools to attend. The solar panels they installed on the roof provided the only electricity and Wi-Fi available to many in the neighborhood
Proyecto Apoyo Mutuo Mariana is built on the concept of mutual aid. It was not only giving away free food, but also giving people, no matter their age, the opportunity to contribute whatever they can so they can be part of our own solution.
Rather than sitting back and depending on the government to fix all their problems, they are taking responsibility for their own community. Ultimately they hope to build a new culture of self-dependency.