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A Tough 5-Years Since Hurricane Sandy Hit Eastern Cuba

A Tough 5-Years Since Hurricane Sandy Hit Eastern Cuba
May 31, 2017
Rosa Martinez

HAVANA TIMES — It is truly difficult to make any project come to light
on my beloved island. The self-employed know this well enough, those who
began a long time ago and those who have started up their own businesses
right now. Likewise, those who decide to build their homes by themselves
can’t get everything they need even with cash in hand.

However, we ordinary Cubans are the ones who suffer the most, because we
can barely live on our super low salaries; much less get involved in
another business.

Ever since Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, which almost destroyed Santiago
de Cuba and caused severe damage in the other eastern provinces
including Guantanamo, and left my house trembling as it nearly tore off
the roof all of a sudden, we haven’t been able to take a break.

The most urgent thing we had to do, which was clearly the first thing we
had to do, was to repair the roof, which we luckily received government
support for as the State put up half of the money for materials –
fibreglass tiles, nails, cement – and also allowed us to pay the rest
back in installments, via the Bank, which we are still paying.

Later, we found ourselves forced to buy a cooker, plates, cutlery
and glasses, among other things, as the kitchen had collapsed and nearly
all of the glass kitchenware and other kinds of kitchenware were
destroyed when the roof fell through.

We also bought a new mattress, because no matter how much we tried to
fix the one that had got wet in the middle of that terrible disaster,
there wasn’t anyone who could get rid of the awful smell that was
brought on by the damp, not to mention that we had been told that even
though it might seem dry, it might have bugs.

It has been a long five years of many shortages, more than one loan from
the bank, “inventing” on the side to try and collect a bit of money, and
the worse thing is that we still have so many things we need to take
care of.

I would say it has been a grey five-year period, not to say black. Only
my family and I, especially the girls, know how much we have had to
sacrifice in order to make a little bit of progress. Weekends stuck at
home, entire holidays without going on holiday; clothes and shoes, only
when we have no other choice; even our diets have been affected in one
way or another.

It was an extremely hard five years, but it’s over now. My husband and I
have said that we WON’T make any more extreme sacrifices; we’ll fix
whatever needs to be improved or changed gradually over time. However, I
have to ask myself, if it took us five long years to do just a little
bit with the rope so tight that we almost strangled ourselves, how much
more time has to pass before my family and I can live the dignified life
we deserve!

Source: A Tough 5-Years Since Hurricane Sandy Hit Eastern Cuba – Havana –

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