By: MsC. María Inés Álvarez Garay (*)
December 22nd, the day on which our eternal Commander Fidel, in the Revolution Square, together with more than 271,000 educators, declares to Cuba “Territory free of Illiteracy” (1961). He expressed:
“We have won a great battle, and it must be called that: battle, because the victory against illiteracy in our country has been achieved through a great battle, with all the rules of a great battle. A battle started by the teachers, which the popular literacy teachers continued, and which took on an extraordinary and decisive momentum when our youthful masses, integrated into the “Conrado Benítez” literacy army, joined that fight. «
This day, December 22nd, is declared as Educator’s Day and allows us to appreciate the colossal educational work that our invincible Revolution treasures that, according to Fidel, necessarily goes through the link of the word with the action and the convictions with the behavior, as the basis of the prestige of educators.
Let us add to the above the beautiful pages of humanism that characterize the performance of several generations of educators who also contribute to the education of others abroad.
The example of Cuba and its proverbial solidarity and internationalist vocation has multiplied, and in this sense Cuban teachers have offered their help in numerous brother countries, thus contributing to bring the light of knowledge to the poor of the earth, in the noble endeavor of bringing the bread of teaching and love to all.
In a corner of West Africa, in The Gambia, a small country full of love and gratitude for the unconditional and accurate help that the Greater Antilles provides, we find a group of artisans of knowledge that mold the hearts and wisdom of a population thirsty of knowledge.
Health professionals with a high scientific preparation, great teaching experience, with an enviable pedagogical mastery and with a heart full of tenderness conquered by the nobility of this African people, have dedicated all their efforts, good will, preparation and knowledge in training of human resources that will reinforce the attention to the Gambian population with the firm intention of improving health indicators
Since 1999, Cuban teachers have provided their services in The Gambia, many teachers have gone through this long journey of instruction leaving a mark on the formation of generations of Gambians and students of other nationalities.
The current Team, made up of 39 professors, 26 doctors and 13 with bachelor degree, continues the tradition of its predecessors with ethics and discipline, complying with international standards and whose results are recognized by the Faculty of Medicine within the University of Gambia belonging to the Association of universities of the West Africa.
Among its basic tasks is the development of the scientific potential of the students, stimulating them to research and present works in scientific conferences, in addition undergraduate and master’s thesis are advised.
The results of these research works are exposed every year in Scientific events and the improvements in the population’s health indicators are a reflection of this.
The senate also has other professionals from different countries, who enrich the intercultural process.
This center of higher studies began with the Career of Medicine and gradually other careers such as Nursing, Public Health, Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy were inserted. and a year ago the career of Dentistry. More than 620 professionals have graduated during these years.
The improvement of teachers both in the basic and clinical areas has been constant, in different branches of knowledge, always raising the quality, creativity and scientific level of the teaching process.
There are teachers who mark you for life, for one reason or another, for your righteousness or your intelligence, for your passion for the art of teaching, for your inordinate love and dedication to instruct and educate.
There are educators who accompany you in your life story, listen to your problems, criticize you and point out your mistakes, showing you the right path to a bright future.
Dear teachers all that and more you are, the ones who have left in the classrooms your heart and your altruistic soul of authentic Cubans, sons and daughters of Martí our great teacher and of our eternal and invincible Lighthouse and guide Fidel Castro, with enough wisdom, tenderness, solidarity and love for humanity.
With you, those who have put aside their problems, those who, far from their homeland and their families, are unfolded in an act of brotherhood and cooperation, I want to stay and hold tight on behalf of all those graduates who are serving their country today, their people and of whom we are immensely proud, we also want to congratulate you on behalf of our country for allowing us to enjoy your successes and savor the results of this important work. You have been, are and will be breath, soul and example.
Our mother land looks at you proudly. Happy educator’s day.
(*) Professor and Collaborator of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Gambia