"One gigantic wave
covered me...I had never thought that a river had such
strength...but in no time at all, it had destroyed all of
Macuto" is how Damaris relived his
"The water rose up
like a monster...the waves were up to twenty five meters
To save themselves, they climbed onto a
neighbor's roof, they hoped onto the tiles of another, they passed
roofs of asbestos. They found a place where they could shelter
"there, we spent two days trying to look for
"Helicopters were swamped with the dead, and
we were terrified of illnesses via an epidemic. We walked from six
in the morning until two in the afternoon, we saw people that had
drowned and sunk into the mud..."
Damaris still gets troubled at the memory of
the noise of the water:
"When there is a really loud noise, I despair
- it brings back all of what happened...that night the noise was
deafening and I even now I can hear
In their dreams Luis still
"all the people looking for help..."
which causes him to feel "frustration and sadness...but life goes
In fact, Damaris recognizes that the
experience of the tragedy:
"...helped me to awaken something inside of
me that until now had been dormant, the strength to fight and to
help others...now I lead a life that I try to share with the
others...another thing that has helped me to survive is the smile of
As for Luis, what helps him is his strong
willpower and also having a positive attitude. His plans for the
future include continuing his studies...
"in order to be better prepared and to be a
good example to my children."
Similarly, Damaris wants to follow studying
"it is something that fills me, I am
passionate about it."
Through art Damaris wants to help
"My biggest inspiration is people, with all
their flaws and virtues. I would love to be a huge mother and to
have immense arms to hug all the people of this shelter and