Then schools were made into shelters to evacuate possible victims. Minimal conditions were arranged for in such a way foodstuff could be cooked for many people at the same time.
Ever since in Antilla and, although the Virgin had only a hermitage destroyed in the late 60s’, people are convinced that the Holy Patron Saint of Cuba since 1916, tinges the region with a mystic look.
To top it all, the hurricane hit Antilla the exact day of its celebration. That's why, when the place was made out from the bus by the members of the artistic brigade coming form Havana, actress Corina Mestre said to all, in a vast voice like her body: “In this place the Holy Patron Saint of Cuba came into sight.” Exchanged small talks and looks came only to an end on arriving to the House of Culture.
Artists got down with their eyes on nearby buildings. Neighbours looked surprised to the arriving visitors. Humorist Osvaldo Doimeadiós seemed mesmerized. Israel and Yoel, members of Buena Fe band, greeted young girls that, knowing in advance they would come, awaited anxiously. Nassiri Lugo, director of Moneda Dura band, said hello too. They stepped into the House of Culture, half-way destroyed, that served yet as a shelter for several families. So they were welcome.
The brigade of artists arrived in Holguín to perform in places where Ike hurricane had played havoc on, such as Gibara and Banes where they had already carried out performances. In addition to Antilla, Fray Benito in the municipality of Freyres, Mayarí, Báguano and some neighborhoods in Holguín waited for them. “When it was heard about Ike's damages in East Cuba, artists did not hesitate to request the Ministry of Culture their presence in affected areas to bring them spiritual help.” Corina Mestre said it before starting each presentation, two per days. She is touched seeing in front of her so many children, women and men that seem to forget for some minutes the trauma of the moment to become enraptured in another space: The one belonging to sensations provoked by a funny story, a song, a game, a sound.
On listening to it, people from Gibara in el Guirito must have been so touched that they gave her as a souvenir a winkle as a remembrance to her visit. They did not have any other thing to offer. It was a devastated village where winkles were the only survivors as the result of strong winds.
Troubadour Ireno García got impressed to be recognized in Antilla when he got down the bus and listened “Look, that is Ireno Garcia”. It was strange. Ireno’s face does not appear in television as much as his voice. But people follow his voice, as at Miguel Salcedo primary school, turned into a shelter with a 170 evacuees, and at the Central Park. Men stood up on tables. Children and women made a circle around artists acting. Ireno sang with his intimate voice: Let's go to walk, the sun is setting…
The afternoon saw a Central Park full with a crowd and nearby buildings filled with a heterogeneous public. Many people were there; some preferred though to stick to restoring their brought down houses. Not faraway, several men and women saved books at a store where water and wind left havoc.
Next to the Municipal Museum, birthplace house to underground revolutionary fighter René Ramos Latour, a man had lost half the roof. He kept being perched in a stair hammering while listening to some music in the radio: “The thing is that some government officials in the municipality have not shown up as much as we want. At least out of solidarity, to explain. If Fidel could walk, he would sure have already gone to all places”.
At 5.00 p.m. people enjoyed the artists’ sensitive part as good as it could get: Pipo Pérez's voice embedded in overthrown roofs. Buena fe’s music targeted trees. Celina Gonzalez’s Punto cubano trilled to the wind. After witnessing such an environment in the Park, I remembered the tornado that threatened the town before fortunately diluting on the air. But what I was thinking about was not the real tornado; it was about the poet's song. We just needed something similar to a human tornado: A sweeper of sadness, a pouring rain in revenge that on stopping could seem like our hope.