VEGA BAJA, Puerto Rico — Hammering, sawing, slicing and sanding pierce the air of the small workshop.

  • 64-year-old cabinet-makers stays busy in Puerto Rico
  • Juan Robles was without power for 5 months after Maria
  • Now, he and brother work tirelessly to fill builders' orders

The cabinet-making business in Vega Baja, on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, is buzzing with activity.

"Mas — more is good," says Juan Robles as he orders from builders. His small business is busy as the work orders pour in from builders fueled by Federal Emergency Management Agency money after Hurricane Maria.

Robles' younger brother lends a hand at the cluttered workshop, which is tucked away behind his home in Vega Baja.

It's a very different scene from just a month ago.

"Five months and 18 days with no power was extremely difficult," explains the 64-year-old in Spanish. He got by with three generators given to him by relatives.

Now, they're making up for lost time.

The brothers reflect on how Maria has taken a toll on them physically and emotionally.

"I'm under pressure to make money, and my arm now is failing me from all the lifting," Robles says.

“I feel sad, I feel lonely, I lost a lot of friends," says his younger brother, Juan "Berti" Robles.

Despite the pain, the brothers continue to work seven days a week. 

"There is a God, always helping us, and now we have lots of orders to fill," Berti says.