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Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

Waiting for Matthew without Expecting Anything

October 4, 2016 |

Alfredo Fernandez

Santiago de Cuba's Enramada Street on a normal day. Photo: Janis Hernandez

Santiago de Cuba’s Enramada Street on a normal day. Photo: Janis Hernandez

HAVANA TIMES – I enter the Internet time and time again in search for information on Hurricane Matthew, reviewing the projection cone with the possible path in the Caribbean.

I call home to Santiago de Cuba and talk to my father, “I’m fine son, don’t worry, the house is safe and nothing will happen.” It is true, but the city? My Santiago? With so many homes in poor condition with roofs that will not withstand the wind.

Many people are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy four years ago.

Today Santiago awoke to await the most powerful natural event that it has faced, as if 26 years of the Special Period wasn’t enough.

I hope destiny shows mercy not only on Santiago but the entire impoverished eastern Cuba. Right now Matthew is battering the sister nation of Haiti, a country of terrible luck with natural phenomenon.

How will Santiago be like after Hurricane Matthew? How long will the population need to recover, not only economically but spiritually? The sister of a friend died after a heart attack right after Sandy.

My friend and her family spent the passing of Sandy inside the bathroom, the only safe place in the house, the rest of the ceiling was on the floor. A few days later due to severe stress, her sister died of a heart attack!

My friend after spending a lot of work again has a new tin roof, and today, with an even stronger cyclone Sandy she and her family will enter the same bathroom, in the hope of saving life, so that tomorrow they can start looking for a new roof.

How long will it take them to accomplish that? Only god knows!

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  • bjmack

    Please keep us updated Alfredo. Hope your town survived.