Covid Year Notes (2)

By: José Antonio Michelena and Yarelis Rico Hernández

Ilustración: Ángel Alonso

We’re already in the eighth month of the year dealing with Covid-19. We would have wanted to live all this time in a capsule, in a hyperbaric chamber, in hibernation, and go outside only when it all happened. But so many things have happened in the global village in these seven months… And what is life without the experience of everyday life, of what happens and happens to us.

No matter how isolated we were, we couldn’t be without hearing the beating of the world, the multiple stories, from the origin and spread of the new coronavirus and the follow-up to the health crisis, to the social effects of an African-American suffocation by a cop in Minneapolis. Isn’t that quite one story?

On the island we have not been oblivious to the events outside, but also inside things have happened. And for everything there are criteria and positions that cause dissequents and shocks when intolerance emerges, the voices that scream louder because they want to be the only ones heard, the ones who believe themselves to be bearers of the truth.

Word New wanted to share the expressions of a group of diverse voices to offer to its readers as a sample of the personal and collective experiences that have been lived in this peculiar and amazing leap year, this twenty-twenty turned quarent(en)a.

We have asked these people to tell us about their experiences in these seven months, how their days have elapsed, how they have faced the challenges, and what reading they make of what happened, what their ideas are about it.

Life is the greatest and most perfect enterprise we must preserve

by Caridad Luisa Limonta Ewen

After waiting for the advent of the year 2020 as a family and wishing us the best things, I looked at the Miamian sky, full of lights and fireworks, and for the news I heard about the Covid-19 and its havoc in distant China, I prayed to the Almighty God for the healing of the sick and control of what was already advertised as a pandemic.

Back home we stayed informed. While I saw the crisis away from our reality, a premonition made me comment to my co-workers. “Dear, we seem to have an arduous task ahead of us, we’re going to have to sew nasobucos.”

In February, an Italian friend told me about the chaos of Italy. Spain, and other first-world countries gave chilling numbers of infected and dead. In the second half of February, PROCLE, a small private company I run, began the production of nasobucos, which we soon marketed with customers loyal to our line, who understood the need to use this accessory. No action was yet issued in the country.

As a first step, we hand in the slow-moving fabrics. We noticed that we had deril sagging bags that were worth transforming into nasobucos. Tucked into production and motivated by the strong demand that was generated, we took from our storefronts sheets and clothes that we did not use and… to sew more nasobucos!

After closing contracts with the first customers, fulfilling deliveries and having bought sheets in stores to continue production, Cuba declared quarantine. With pending orders, there was no choice but to outsource the service of other seamstresses to their homes, a practice that we had previously assumed on other occasions. It was like a productive second wave: again to cut, sew, collect and deliver.

Undoubtedly, this confinement brought to light the woman of faith, warrior, human, entrepreneurial and resilient in me. Many times I found myself asking myself the same question: what message is God giving me with this global paralysis, why do so many die without distinction, why does it hit one country more than others? I only sensed one message from you: getting the best out of each one. Resuscitate values such as solidarity, responsibility, empathy… All these feelings came together to decide to donate nasobucos to senior and sick clients, service institutions and brothers of the faith, neighbors, friends of PROCLE. Then we continue to cut fabric at home and transform sagging into nasobucos. The latter had to be disassembled manually. In some ways, the work was shared and solidarity also emerged as a means of support to be able to spend the days of April, when we were just serving the first month of retirement. During this stage we helped with food to the friend who by the pandemic was stranded on the island.

On the other hand, it is unquestionable how social media became a vital element in reaching more people. With the patient help of the young people of CubaEmprende we are involved in the celebration of the anniversary of this project and we discover the potentials of commerce and digital exchange in terms of creating and strengthening alliances with other businesses, knowing new, novel, strategic and interesting ventures.

Indisputably, within the pandemic crisis, we have always seen hope. Many things can be done, the world can be stopped, but the most perfect work, which is of God, is still reinvented to continue.

Currently, we continue to work for some clients. We open the workshop one day a week, after coordination with stakeholders. In my case, as part of the high-risk group, it was determined, in a collegial way, to partner with another entrepreneur. He lives in Centro Habana, just a few blocks from our project, and with his follow-up and work has maintained the vitality of it. Today we are producing custom clothing, demand arrangements and nasobucos.

It has been a strong period, but there has been no time to encourage, over the phone or over the Internet, participation in the devotionals of my evangelical community. Every day I bring words of encouragement and life to close and distant brothers and I share with pleasure the bread of the day with neighbors in need. In the midst of this reality, I thank God for all that He has given me despite the crisis. He has preserved my life, that of my family, that of loved ones, friends, and that of our blessed land.

Somehow my experience during this time is contained in an interview with El Toque magazine, which added to the encouragement comments I received during the 8th. Anniversary of CubaEmprende, to the launch in New York of a book with part of my life story and to my participation in the online panel “Last Thursday of the magazine Tema”. All this has nothing to do with populism, but with my desire to thank God for the many blessings received every day.

Focused on solutions, motivated and grateful, we can clearly get ahead and visualize what God is revealing to us with all this.

There is no distinction of persons; the Covid caught the lives of rich and poor, short tall, black, white… Life is the greatest and most perfect enterprise we must preserve.

If you have passed this crisis, look in which areas of life you can work in faith, without desire for prominence and with great creativity, for there is no doubt that together we can do great things. Ω


Caridad Luisa Limonta Ewen.
Caridad Luisa Limonta Ewen.

Caridad Luisa Limonta Ewen (Havana 1956), studied engineering in Kiev (former USSR). Founder of the PROCLE Project, a private family entrepreneurship of textile garments. Self-employed in the specialty of tailor dressmaker. He decided to devote himself entirely to sewing, when in 2008 his heart imposed on him to leave behind his working life in state institutions.

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