After Hurricane Maria
Shortly after Hurricane Maria hit Havana, Heart Compass organized a trip Sept 23-25, 2017 to deliver food, including baby food, and toiletries to over 5o families located in downtown Havana. While some areas of Havana and the surrounding areas of Cuba whethered the storm fine, some parts of downtown Havana were flooded, homes and belongings destroyed, and the famous El Malecon sustained a lot of damage.
The reality of the embargo
Due to the embargo, it is very difficult to get necessary items to Cuba. They are very inventive with what they do have. Certain kinds of food and toiletry items are particularly hard to come by.
Heart Compass’s founder, Miriam Martinez-Pearson, daughter of Cuban expats living in Miami, organized the trip and received an abundance of food and supplies, plus costs to cover flights and lodging for 2 other volunteers — celebrity makeup artist Georgio Fernandez, who has relatives in Havana, and artist / designer Kristin Currier Ludlow.
Suitcases filled with love
We were allowed 3 suitcases each filled with supplies. We stayed at a family bed & breakfast in the Callejon de Hamel, an artististic tourist attraction that remained unscathed from the storm.
50 families get supplies
Together, with volunteers from Havana, we organized over 50 supermarket satchels filled with food, supplies, including baby food, and went out into the streets to give them to families. One young man who benefitted, a dancer monikered “Shampoo” who makes $14 a month, lost his entire apartment in flood waters.