Fallon Graham & Marcela Weltsek-Medina

#9: Fallon & Marcela

Fallon Graham and Marcela Weltsek-Medina, students at The Project School in Bloomington, Indiana, discuss the impact of Hurricane Maria on Marcela's family.

Description of the video:

So, Marcella, your family is from Puerto Rico, correct?
Correct, yes.
How did Hurricane Maria affect your school life, your friendship life, and your family life?
Well, it's kind of complicated, definitely. I remember the moment I found out about Hurricane Maria. I didn't know it was going to happen or anything like that. I just remember my dad was picking me up from school. And he said, "Marcella, we gotta talk about something." And I look at him, and I'm like, "What is it?" And he said, there was this hurricane that went through Puerto Rico, and we haven't heard back from our family in Puerto Rico. And I- At first, I didn't realize the original effect it was going to have on my family. But as it kind of went along, I realized that this is gonna be something that I- that's always gonna be remembered. It really affected my mom, definitely, because she has sisters. Her parents are there. And that definitely affected her. I noticed, like, she wasn't- She wasn't as happy as she used to be. And it was really difficult to kind of just like manage, you know, just having my regular daily life.
How has our class helped with hurricanes and where they have affected people?
Well, actually our class did a lot. And I'm really thankful for that. So did our whole school. They really pitched in. Originally, we were doing project work, you know, like, learning more about the hurricanes and how they affected people. I remember we did work around Hurricane Harvey where we partnered up with this school, and they had an Amazon wishlist of what they wanted, and we got money from the rest of the class, and that was really cool. And we donated money also, donated from our class to Puerto Rico. And the next thing I thought was very successful and very, really warmed my heart, we did a toy drive for Christmas for kids in Puerto Rico who didn't have toys at Christmas.
Do you think, like, if another hurricane happens, what do you think will happen?
I never really thought of that, but now that you've put that thought inside my brain, I kind of have a feeling that people would help more, the people that didn't help this first time. They would get a lot more help because, I know from personal experience, I felt bad because I couldn't help at much as I wanted to.
This question is a little off-topic, but if this was our very last conversation, is there anything you'd want to say to me?
Well, definitely that I really care about you as a friend, and that if we ever had to leave or if we ever- If we never saw each other again, I would definitely- you would always be something that would stay in my mind. What would you say to me?
I would tell you that you're probably one of the best things that's happened to me in a very long time because, when I came to Bloomington, I really hated being up here because I didn't what to leave the life I was in, and you made it, you made school a lot more fun. And you helped me look onto the bright side of most things. You help me through what I need to get through. Can I ask you a question?
Okay, what was the happiest moment of your life? And what was the saddest moment of your life?
The happiest moment of my life. Honestly, I feel like that life doesn't have a happiest moment. I feel like that there are all those moments that just make you feel warm inside whenever you think about them. And honestly, I do have a saddest moment. I think it was probably when I found out my grandpa had died. And I think the second one was probably Hurricane Maria. That definitely got me all shook. What was yours?
Like you said, I don't think there really is a happiest moment in someone's life. I know, when I was little, I would always be like, this is the best day ever. And then like two days later, I was like, no, this is the best day ever. But I definitely think one of the saddest moments in my life was when I realized what my dad has actually done with his life, 'cause like I said earlier, I- a lot of people just look on what's on the outside, not the inside. And I didn't really know my own father that well. I only knew him from the outside.
That's really powerful. It was really nice talking to you like this.
It was nice talking to you, too.

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