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Chronicles from the Hurricane


Community member Farsthary from Cuba (famous for his volumetrics and smoke work) found his home wrecked after the hurricane Gustav passed. He and his family are fine, but they're out of electricity and they have a lot of reconstruction work to do. You can support him by sending a donation. Bank account details are on his blog.

Update: I just tried to send some money, only to find out that Cuba is currently under embargo - you cannot send money there, at least from the Netherlands. The bank couldn't tell me if this affects other countries as well :-/

Farsthary writes on his blog:

In my house I have no electricity since the saturday, and I will not have until a week.

My roof top partially blow away and everything inside my house get wet, so I will be busy with my family in the reconstruction phase.

Its sad, because many things that you kept during your life could get lost in no time, and many plans you have for the future simply blow away with the wind. And luckily I didn't lost so much compared to other people: many of then literally lost everything…

My best friend, lost his house and because of that he leave to other town to live, so I also lost a friend…

But I have hope, sooner or later things will recover its normal path and after all, hurricanes are very common here and we have in general very little to lose (except our lives).

So dont worry if I seems to not answer mails, im here, just off...

Image: Tracking Gustav by soldiersmediacenter [cc license]

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Nature is cruel.
    I hope that they will have their house and roof repaired soon, and no rain meanwhile.
    I wish them better luck an a lot of courage in this ordeal.

  2. I wish them the best too. For things like this "embargo" (among a lot of things) i think that USA has incredibly forgotten the basics of humanity. I hope that we can help in one or other way. Una abrazo grande desde Argentina Farsthary!

  3. This is terrible news, I hope you can restart your life again and maybe laugh about it in a few years...

    I wouldn't start a political debate about the embargo but it really makes me feel angry... breath... breath...

  4. Man, when I saw the photo of the hurricane and farsthary's name here on this news item, I thought he'd done it again and added hurricane features to his volumetrics work, seemed like a natural step from smoke and clouds to hurricanes. :-)

    Best wishes farsthary, hope the damage is not extensive and that life can return to normal soon.

  5. Damn, that's a terrible thing, I hope farsthary and his family will be OK. I don't know if the 'embargo' affects to here in Mexico, but if don't, I'll be helping him next week, 'cuz it's when I recive may pay.

    Best wishes.

    Saludos desde Mexico farsthary, espero y todo salga bien.

    Sephiroth the Bimbo Master

  6. Terrible news, hope his community can start to repair itself as soon as possible. On the subject of 'embargos' etc. If Farsthary set up a Paypal account or some system other than a bank account it may be free of this embargo and we can all help.

  7. It's not right that Cuba is under embargo. Relief money should be allowed to the common people. They aren't at fault for things that the Cuban government has done, and the government probably isn't going to do much to help them.

    NathanKP - Inkweaver Review

  8. Maybe it's possible to send money using Paypal to someone in a country that doesn't have this embargo with Cuba and then send that money from that country to Farsthary's bank account.

    All the best Farsthary! hope everything gets well soon!

  9. This politic Nonsense between Cubans and American government must stop and reopen relationship in the 21 century and put away all differences; the pasts is the pasts.. a blame put by the very conspirator LBJ and his people in government. I have a friend whom some time go to Cuba and say the Cubans suffer very much
    some time go to bed hungry becuase of the effects of the embargo. We Americans Have become our wost enemy,yes,but true.

    hope you and families recover.


  10. fuerza Farsthary, el tiempo va a pasar y cuando menos te lo esperes todo va a estar de nuevo en normalidad, me alegra saber que haya sido un susto y que tu y tu familia esten bien.

    un abrazo grande

  11. I've send Farsthary money already and it went good. My bank is RBTT, so I guess that there is no embargo there. I'll be looking into it to send him some dinero. On a morbid note, isn't it ironic that he had been hit by the very same thing his coding in Blender could have accomplished, which is smoke/clouds/ volumetrics which is the right tech together with particles to model a hurricane? I'm not joking at his situation, but sometimes its best to laugh in the face of adversity.

  12. Mucha suerte Farsthary, no tengo la posibilidad de mandarte ayuda económica porque en México estoy en situaciones parecidas! pero te deseo lo mejor y ya verás que todo saldrá muy bien sólo no te des por vencido!!
    Mucha suerte y ánimos!!! :)

  13. I wish Farsthary the best of luck in rebuilding and getting his life back together. What gives me hope though is the fact that this community is so close to each other that when something like this happens many of us are willing to help out in any way we can. In this situation theres a road block with the embargo and all but the fact that people in this community did or tried to send money says a lot. Mucha Suerte. Yo deseo tu mejor. Espero que usted consiga la ayuda que usted necesita.

  14. as an us citizen i had no clue that cuba is under "embargo" at this moment and honestly wish that i could do something to help. sadly though, i can do nothing.. they will have my prayers though.. I agree with RNS though we should end this politics crap and move on.. but you know we do have bush (but of course we will probably have an even worse president if either one of our new canidates get elected anyways so we are pretty much screwed)

  15. Farsthary,
    I am so sorry this has happened to you and about the embargo. Although I live in Tennessee now, I did live in Florida until my house was distroyed by a hurricane. I left many friends behind and told them I felt like I was dying. It was a very depressing time, but the people in Tennessee have been very kind and I have been able to report to my friends in Florida that the feeling of dying has been replace with the feeling of having died and gone to heaven. I hope the future brightens for you as well. Today, I met with a group of evacuees from New Orleans who are staying here until it is safe for them to go back home. We organized a special art event for them to participate in to express themselves with paint. My heart goes out to you in this time of sadness. I hope that the words of all of us here on Blender Nation are of some comfort. My thoughts are with you and your family. I hope when it is possible that you can keep us informed of how you are doing. I wish I could do more.

  16. Don't send money to Cuba. Buy stuff and get somebody to deliver it to him IN PERSON. Cuban authorities are way to corrupt and will take a good chunk of the money you send to him. Sorry for being so blunt but that's the reality there.

  17. Well my prayers are with you, I can definetly understand if nothing comes out from you for a while. I hope things get straightened up for you and your family and that you will live without fear of these hurricanes. I live in Florida so I know what its like to have one of those monster storms chasing after you.

  18. @El_maraco: Do know of any reputable people could be contacted to deliver the goods in person...I mean, most Americans can't go to Cuba (or even donate with the embargo), and that would alone make problems with getting things to Farsthary, and knowing someone is even less likely...until something is figured out, my best wishes go out to Farsthary and his family and friends...

  19. @ABlank I know Canadians that travel to Cuba a lot, maybe that's an option. Let me know and I'll drill down on this matter.

  20. I did not know that countries other than USA were affected by the embargo. I can send things (not sure about money) to Cuba from Mexico. If anyone is interested, please contact me.

  21. Oh crap! That really sucks man. I saw what happened from Katrina
    while down there to help hand out supplies to people. My wife has
    lost everything too from a house fire.

    I'm really sorry that happened. I wish I could go down there and
    do something to help.

    Or next time a hurricane exists I'm going to punch it right in the face.

  22. the best way is to ask him to take an account with Carribean Transfers, which is pretty easy over there.
    You can then go carribeantransfers dot com, setup an account (you'll need to take a copy of your ID card and visa).
    Then transfer the mony to his debit card.
    Payments are done in Canadian dollars (because of the embargo) and there's a fee but if you only pay once it shouldn't be a problem.
    These payments worked for me.

  23. One solution would be to send money to a trusted person (Bart for exemple, but could be anyone else) or foundation (blender foundation) paypal account.

    Then the aforementioned trusted person or foundation use Western Union to send the money to Cuba.

    I believe it could works. Plus it doesn't rely on the internet (which seems to be down) to send the money.

    We just have to find a WU agency in Cuba (yes there are, I just don't know where they hide).

  24. I'm living in France. I have done a research on Western Union webstite, and Cuba is not in the list of countries where one can send from here. I have phoned to their hotline, and also to my bank and they confirmed that Western Union doesn't work for Cuba, except if the destination is the military base !

    I have to contact the financial center of my bank to know if a bank to bank transfer is possible, using the bank informations found on Farsthary website.

  25. Some things people must keep in mind:

    1) Cuba is under a U.S. embargo, which it looks like most of you here know, but that also means that all U.S. individuals and U.S. companies, whether on domestic or foreign soil, are forbidden from doing business or sending money into Cuba. That means no U.S. banks. No PayPal. No Western Union--and it doesn't matter where you or they are worldwide, as they are still U.S.-owned companies that are legally prohibited from dealing with Cuba. I believe that certain exceptions have been made for Cuban-Americans being able to send money directly to their family, but I get the sense that none of you are his family.

    2) Less obvious is the fact that the U.S. government has successfully lobbied many international banking institutions not to do business with Cuba either, because--let's face it--many of these international banks also do business in the U.S., even if they are not explicitly incorporated in the U.S. And they would not want to lose access to, arguably, the most important market in the world; and, in this regard, the U.S. government has been successful with their threats.

    3) U.S. citizens or residents, in particular, had best not try to circumvent the Cuban embargo, either directly or indirectly, because it is considered a serious offense, and you do risk being arrested and tried for violating it, even if your heart is in the right place. It is still taken very seriously by the U.S. government!

  26. Unfortunately, this is all true. As a US citizen, I have asked many times why we have this embargo and have not gotten a satisfactory answer. I do know that jail time is probable for those who attempt to circumvent the embargo even if a US citizen goes through another country.

  27. As a US citizen, I have asked many times why we have this embargo and have not gotten a satisfactory answer.

    Actually, it's quite simple, politically. It's maintained, due to lingering fallout from the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and the political reality that Cuban-Americans are highly supportive of the embargo. Who wants to be the politician that has to explain to the American public and the highly politically active Cuban-Americans as to why they support communism?

    Regardless of the debate as to whether it is right, however, the reality is that it is there, and Americans, in particular, had best not do anything to violate it. Be warned!

  28. Hey folks iam Cuban too, a friend of Farsthary, I think you can use Western union if you want to send some help to his family!!! they will accept to send it to cuba!!!
    Thanks guys, our Lord bless all of you!!!!

  29. "Don't send money to Cuba. Buy stuff and get somebody to deliver it to him IN PERSON."

    Exactly. Is absolutely possible. I made to other cuban person, not money, neeeded things, medical stuff, etc. many things. In person. Or by some person in a boat, etc. It's complex, though. Wetern Union works really well for these kind of sendings, and if he says worky with cuba, then it have to be true...
    But I see a prob with publishing physical adress of farshtary, ie: his allowance of this, the possible problems it can create to him, given political situation (perhaps, I certainly don't know). If not, that'd be a good way. Going directly to Cuba is the best way, but hey, who can...

    "I don't know it and I don't know if it can be trusted (its swiss?)"

    hmmm...maybe send a little to do a test: if , for example, via Victor Diaz, is confirmed, farshtary received it, we all know is safe route. What do you think?

  30. oh! Also!!
    If you send him something, solid, I mean, be sure to tell him previously, so he knows which day, exactly, arrives.. .I mean: if sending "things", not money.

    hmm...a pitty paypal may not work...
    how he would receive the online transaction of , anyway? good thing is that place allows a lot of options, pitty not paypal, but a real lot for many countries.

    if the test of "small quantity" to check is done, among all, a lot of help could be made !

  31. Way back in the "", "mav" posted info about donating money to farsthary for his work:

    May 3rd, 2008 at 10:19 am
    I think should host the donation if possible. After that money can be sent to Cub via Western Union or Read more here:

    I think this is a great project, something everybody has been waiting for years.

    Go farsthary!

  32. In order to send solid things, never use regular mail, but DHL or something like that, (if you know any cuban in your country, we are everywhere, ask them, they always know )
    Thanks blender community!!
    God bless U!!

  33. The interesting thing is that if Blender was commercial software, he wouldn't have been allowed to be part of the process in the first place.

    FOSS tears down walls. Hurricanes tear down more walls. With all those walls down, the ones that remain are thrust into sharp contrast.

    I wish him luck. I hope the government of Cuba does the right things here.

  34. I've been in Cuba for a year in the mid 90's. I really love that country, and yes is sad that hurricanes are a seasonal event there. I'm sorry for what happened to your faimly and you farsthary. Stoy contiente que no hayga perdido algo mas importante, como un miembre de familia. I wish I could help, somehow, just be courageous and be ready to start or restart your live gain and again, this is what makes a real man.

  35. Hi all!

    Really thanks a lot! the fact that all of you are concerned about me is a big help to me.
    I know its quite difficult for some contries to send donations, and the political issue...well simply put : stinks
    But dont worry, I know I can count on all the comunity.
    Thanks to all, I will be fine.

    cheers Farsthary

  36. The embargo does NOT affects Mexico, we have always keep good relations with Cuba and I have been there several times. I have send stuff to friends via DHL, that's possible as someone already pointed here, and I know that Cuban Americans send money to their families all the time, so WU or something similar must work.

  37. I'll try to make on monday or tuesday my donation (can't be very big at this very moment, and I don't know how I'll know it's really arriving, but I know is much more money in Cuba ) Am not in the US, and doing a search, found farshtary's bank account details, so will try the direct transfer route, tho I think a lot of money goes to percentages for the bank or so, so the very-smal-for-testing, is not a route indeed. I will just hope it arrives.
    Anyway, will keep quite an eye on here , the blog, and blender nation, to see if you all finally reach a way to conduct the donations :)

  38. (btw, personally I wouldnt mind if my bit of help is used to help somehow that friend who must go ;) but no way to distingish one quantity of another ;) ) As I say, can't be much, but I guess that some form of help we should do.

  39. Tomas Björklund on

    Please let us know when the first money order from anyone has arrived, so the rest of us knows if the route works.

  40. Yeah....the world biggest democracy is the world biggest bully. I hope that when Obama gets elected, that he is 'clever' enough to see that the embargo is pure BS. It doesn't wiork, Castro survived 9 presidents (10 shortly) of which half of them kicked the bucket already. Even Vietnam where thousands of Americans died has normalized relations (and they are still communist).

  41. Hi all,

    bank transfer is working outside U.S.

    I (from France) sent money to Farsthary in April, and he received it about 1 month later.
    I had to personnaly contact my bank for a special transfer because Cuba was not in the standard list, so the bank told me that it was better to give more than 100€ in order that the static fee is lower that the money he will receive..

    So I sent 115€ and Farsthary received 80€.
    (french bank: 15€ + 20€ for the intermediate bank and the cuban one)

    so my advice is to find other blender friend and to send a big amount in order that he receives enough money.


    ruddy aka lapinou

  42. Damn. It's not finished.

    Hurricane "Ike" is on its way to Cuba after devastating nearby Haïti.

    :( Hope it won't hit too hard.

  43. Farsthary, if you are able to, please let us know that you have survived this last hurricane "Ike." I hope you are still alright.

  44. Hmm - I was flooded quite a few years back, it was a big ordeal but fortunately I was too young to remember much. Still, I remember the amount of support me and my family needed. I think the most useful bit was people coming straight afterwards to help physically clean up in person, but money was also very well received.

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