Time turns even greener in the intense pupils of the eighty-year-old Santa Cruz del Sur born Engracia Lugones Ávila. She stammered some words in a low tone. The pray lies in the lips of this cyclone-woman. Since 79 years ago she asks the sea to offer endless peace for the beloved family and friends that in that November 9th the unstoppable waves took away.
“I perfectly recall when it started to drizzle in the morning of that November 9th. There was a bizarre, a bizarre calm aimed to worry. My father said: after calm comes the worse. ”
Her parents and 8 brothers of this woman lived in Ojo de Agua, it was a costal place, close to Maria Blanco lands, where cattle raising was our livelihood.
Salt residue perfumed the wild air, went through the breeze and emerged from the grass. Life in the area had its own happiness. During the day, the sea sun used to embrace the undergrowth. Night used to bring darkness accompanied by the tinkle of the stars, the noise of the bugs and the far roaring of the cattle, unquiet in the stockyards.
“Suddenly it started to rain and it rained so much that the water reached our knees. After trying it, my older brother told my father that it was salty water. Dad decided to get out of there with all of us, without waiting a possible weather improvement, it would has been a miracle”, said the old woman staring at the sky.
Pepe Lugones, a close relative took Engracia. “The little ones like me were in my father arms, and the other ones walked besides them. We were cross country, without talking, frightened by the sound of the wind and the ambushes made by the heavy sea, stronger and stronger, till my father said ¡ every man for himself!”
Every brother was two years older than the other one “the one called Cacha drowned, and also did Enedina. We could not recover the little bodies of the other ones either, only four of us made it, and luckily we did not lose our parents. Pepe Lugones used to talk to me about the trajectory with me in his arms. Sometimes he wanted to leave me at the mercy of the hurricane, but he held me tight again”.
There were corpuses everywhere, “there were girls hooked by the hair in the fences and little girls dead in the rail road. It was such a shocking image…it has turned inerasable”.
The saver of Engracia arrived to what it was left of Juana Viamontes house. They got under the roof dragged by the hurricane. “They gave me something to drink, I do not remembe whether it was water or something else, ”she pointed put upset.
This old woman claims not to be afraid of the wind or hurricanes, “but if another hurricane passes by Santa Cruz del Sur, like Paloma did in 2008, I won’t stay here. When I saw the images and disaster caused by this hurricane on TV I broke down in cry, it made me recall that turbulent odyssey, where we were certainly unprotected”. (Iliana Pérez Lara/ Radio Santa Cruz)