Punta de Maisí, Guantánamo.– Orfelina Matos Legrá struggles to keep back the tears as she speaks about the New, Tricolor Neighborhood Mission. And it’s understandable, given that her home is one of the over 150 which, through this collaboration project with Venezuela, have been restored thus far in Punta de Maisí, following damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.
“I’m so grateful for the presence of the New Neighborhood initiative here… How could I not be, look at my little house, if you saw what it, and many others, looked like after the hurricane, it would have given you a fright. Now it’s got a new roof, it’s been brightly painted inside and out, with a new bathroom, and nicer doors and windows, all donated by Venezuela!”
The 60-year-old campesina also expressed her gratitude to the Cuban state, which supplied additional resources totally free of charge, such as cement, sand, gravel, building blocks, and tacks, as well as transportation to deliver the supplies donated by Venezuela.
“Matthew seriously impacted the vast majority of homes in the area. Everything was destroyed, however, the destruction quickly turned into well-being thanks to the Revolution and international aid. Look how lovely this row of houses is with their red roofs, and each painted three different colors. They are prettier than before the hurricane hit. My neighborhood looks like new, it’s much better and a lot more colorful,” states Orfelina, pointing to several newly restored homes to her right.
This sense of gratitude is also shared by José Rodríguez Azahares, Carlos Rodríguez Paumier, and other residents whose homes have benefitted from the New Neighborhood project.
José notes that small brigades of neighbors were formed to help each other repair and rebuild their homes, and help with the most difficult tasks such as replacing roofing.
“Thanks to the resources Venezuela and the Cuban government have been providing since mid-January, I was able to repair my house. My neighbors and brother-in-law helped me,” states Carlos, who works as a security guard at the coffee processing plant in Punta de Maisí.
A COMMUNITY PROJECT
The Great New, Tricolor Neighborhood Mission is also helping to repair homes damaged by the storm in the communities of Santa Martha and El Veril.
Specifically, 88 homes are set to benefit from the initiative in El Veril, which joined the project on March 28. To date, repairs are scheduled to be undertaken on a total of 600 dwellings, 275 of which have already been completed.
The project itself provides assistance for three of four kinds of damage: partially destroyed homes, and dwellings lacking all, or part, of their roof.
Not included are homes that were completely flattened.
The project will also help to repair over a dozen public facilities, such as ration stores, sports areas, schools, the Santa Martha coffee processing plant and candy factory.
In regard to homes, the Great Mission provides beams, screws and sheeting for roofs, 100 meters of cable, as well as paint for interiors and exteriors, all of which are supplied based on the severity of the damage caused by the hurricane, explains Rolvis Pérez Frómeta, coordinator of New Neighborhood initiative in the municipality of Maisí.
Many houses also receive two steel frame glass doors and windows, as well as a bathroom suite for those in need of replacement.
He went on to note that as this is a community project, families are responsible for carrying out repairs, and when it comes to the paint, homes must feature a least three different colors of the homeowner’s choosing.
Residents are also lent tools such as drills, cutting and welding machinery, leads, paint brushes and rollers, among others.
Through this Great Mission, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has also donated two units of construction equipment to the province, specifically to Baracoa and Maisí, featuring five cement mixers, seven tipper and two flatbed trucks, as well as an equal number of front loaders, diggers and multipurpose tractors.
The donation also includes cranes, mortar pumps, sand and cement mixers and an adjustable loading platform.
To these valuable donations must be added the construction, in the aforementioned municipalities, of a cement factory; an important facility which will help to aid various building initiatives in these mountainous areas, above all those related to housing and roads.
Ever since work began to repair the serious damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in this province, the Cuban government has received the fraternal support and solidarity of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a country which like Cuba gives what it has, not what it can spare.