He sleeps on a mattress in what once was the kitchen. Above the bed, clothes hang from the rafters — like Spanish moss from trees. The floor in his old bedroom turned to cardboard and sags like a trampoline. A hole opened up. Few places in the house stay dry. That’s because, three months after Hurricane Maria, he still doesn’t have a functional roof.
Others might have given up, or moved away, but Rodríguez, a 35-year-old with boyish freckles and a ruler-straight hairline, lived in this house as a child. After his father passed away a few years ago, he says, he moved back in. This is home; he doesn’t want to leave.
So he’s saving up paychecks from his part-time hardware store job to buy cinder blocks to rebuild. A couple dozen or so are piled in the yard. And he tried to install a tarp on his own. It doesn’t do much.