HOLGUÍN—Hello Everyone, I feel blessed and grateful to have been entrusted with the leadership in CGR’s efforts in Eastern Cuba, bringing relief and assisting the people of Eastern Cuba in their battle with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
I have been to Cuba many times as a tourist until God recently touched my heart, and I believe that my calling is to give back to the people of Cuba. We recently completed a teaching and reconnaissance mission, where we taught a group of Cuban Youth Pastors how to provide their own disaster relief program, to their own people in need. This course is based on CGR’s principles that have been applied and proven to work well in many parts of the globe, under Abraham Shepherd’s (CGR President) leadership.
We listened to the people and observed, and beyond the usual needs of food and roofing, the message was clear: We need mattresses! We heard stories ranging from people pulling soaking wet mattresses from the garbage fill to sleep on, people having to sleep sitting up in chairs, and entire families having to sleep in one bed IF they still have a functioning mattress.
The landscape in Cuba is quite different than here: You cannot simply go into a store and buy a mattress, as the country’s political and economic environment does not provide for this privilege. One option is enabling locals to manufacture mattresses on site at the snail pace of three man days of labor and the cost of material (sometimes hard to source out material) plus transportation to the remote disaster struck area, for one mattress. OR importing them from other countries by the container load, involving substantial shipping and other costs alongside a discouraging amount of customs paperwork and uncertainty of timeliness and actual arrival of product. Then, of course, there is local market that may allow for the sourcing of limited number of mattresses.
We believe that we can bring one mattress to one family for a cost of less than USD $100 ($130 CAD), including transportation, depending on which option presents itself as the optimal one at the time, as well as depending on volume. That option may change in a volatile environment where the socio political landscape can change from week to week.
This would ensure a dry, sanitary, and comfortable place for everyone to rest and sleep, which all of us surely take for granted in our society.
I humbly ask for your support in our mission to bring a Good Night’s Sleep back to the people in Eastern Cuba. $100 USD will do the job for one family. God bless you all for helping us.
Please reach out to me and my team as we partner with locals in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Cuba Program Director
Volunteer opportunities will also exist throughout the recovery process, with cleanup teams being called upon. We are requesting potential volunteers to contact the office by email or phone. Further service opportunities and information about disaster relief efforts in the Caribbean in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew will be made available.
Photos: Abraham Shepherd / Canadian Global Response / December 6, 2016 / CC license