For many days we prayed for those affected by the tornado and those who helped them, but it took one more step. By news we heard how the Church and members of society, especially artists, did their best to keep these people from feeling abandoned.
A week after the phenomenon, and with the intention of responding to the call for help made by Caritas and the Youth Pastoral in the archdiocese of Havana, we decided to start collecting clothes, shoes, toilet and some food. Although the seminarians were in exam period, together with our trainers we arrived on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 6th at the nursery of the Sisters of Love of God in Rule.
In the place we find a group of religious and lay people, among them many young people who had been sorting donations for several days, visiting those affected and doing their best to help these people. We joined.
The first thing was to divide ourselves, in which some prepared bags of rice and sugar to deliver to those in need, others took to some houses mattresses that Msgr. Juan García had brought on the morning of that day. That was a tough job. In the midst of disaster, one risks assisting and leaving others in relief; but when misery abounds, accumulated over years, one tries, with what is available, to help those who need it most without hurting others.
Fulfilled the first thing we all joined and went to the most affected neighborhoods, those that are not in sight and always remain for the end. Although the sisters had already been in the place, upon arrival we took a big surprise. We weren’t alone! In front of a building, a small group of people who looked like a cooperative, handed out food. They had their wagons full of bananas and vegetables, and gradually rationed their help. We also saw another Church chariot with things, some seminarian said they were the Scholasses of Guanabacoa.
We went down a long corridor and found a whole neighborhood devastated. Alongside the destruction were the people who carried the immense pain of those who have lost everything, but in their hands they already had some donations that others had left them. Quickly we started handing out modules with toilet and food. Next to us other people handed out bags of clothes and maybe something else. When I asked, they told me they were artists. Apparently they had also visited the area before because they brought help to specific places.
When we finished there we went to a nearby neighborhood where some people rebuilt their homes. We tried to go house to house, but many were closed.
In the last neighborhood visited we find the same situation, a father who in the expectation of his next child helped his wife wash the children’s diapers; brothers, now elderly, who rebuilt a quatical so that his sister could live as long as the government’s promise to help him build a better place, among many other stories, was fulfilled.
The last thing we did that afternoon, after we stocked up, was go back to the neighborhoods to hand out some clothes. On the way back we found foreigners who in rented cars delivered humanitarian aid.
How beautiful to see that when a group suffers we can all comfort! Helping, assisting, building is the responsibility of governments, but it is also the right of an entire people. That afternoon he taught us that Cuba is the house where we can and must contribute. A nation that excludes its people is called to disappear, a Cuba that “opens up to the world”, which has everyone, is called to grow. May these signs be the flashes of a dream that comes true: “With all and for the good of all”.