A meeting with Fidel

By: María Inés Álvarez Garay (*)

– On the occasion of the V anniversary of the physical disappearance of Fidel Castro

 The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, left a deep mark not only on the people who saw him born and who he led to his definitive independence, but on many other lands that were marked by his vision of statesman and revolutionary example.

He also left a deep and authentic feeling in the memory and heart of each worthy Cuban that he had the immense happiness of knowing him personally.

 Dr. Marubia Rosales, a collaborator with the Cuban Medical Brigade (BMC) in the Gambia, fulfills a mission in this African land for the third time, providing all her support and medical experience at the service of the needy and grateful population.

 In her first mission, when she returned from her vacation, she lived a unique experience that is indissolubly engraved in her heart and that marked her life forever.

 With a beautiful smile full of satisfaction she tells us:

“In August 2000 we had the most wonderful of experiences, meeting in person the greatest of the leaders, Fidel Castro Ruz.

I remember we were already back from a well-deserved vacation, after an intense year of work in the Gambia, when we were informed that our Commander wanted to meet with us, since we belonged to one of the Cuban medical brigades that started a new collaboration modality, the so-called Comprehensive Plan of Health, known as the PIS, which began in The Gambia on June 16, 1999.

The Doctor remembers that she was returning to continue her mission, but with great nostalgia and sadness it was difficult for her to leave her family again, and especially her six-year-old son. At that moment she only thought of talking to them to say goodbye, she just looked at the time with eagerness to hear them.

The meeting with Fidel would be before boarding the plane bound for Banjul, and that is what happened. That day Dr. Rosales describes it as one of the most important in her life, it was almost incredible that they could share with the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, at least for a few minutes.

 “Suddenly Fidel enters, I never imagined having him so close, my heart was agitated at being able to realize the dream of listening to him live.

“His words reached each of those gathered there, who assumed the commitment to take health where it was needed.

 «When we saw him arrive it was so indescribable what we felt and I say we felt, because it was noticeable in every face of my mission colleagues,» says Marubia.

«I remember that the first thing he did was take an interest in our health, if we ate well, if we boiled the water, and jokingly he said to us well fed, I see that you are, itcan be seen and we started laughing.»

As always, with that unique ability and his great intelligence that characterized him, the questions began about the health of the Gambian people, and if they had been able to modify some health indicators, such as maternal deaths, very high figures, many unknown, and somewhat amazing because back then that a mother or a child died was something common in those lands.

 Many salvageable lives were dying for lack of a doctor and resources. The country, at that time, with almost a population of around two million inhabitants, only had about 11 Gambian doctors, in those beginnings, in the previous year, it had been possible to cover regions with Cuban doctors where they had never seen a doctor. Almost all the villages benefited.

 In the meeting with the Commander, several anecdotes were made, they all wanted photos with him, and he said that they would have time for photos, and promised to send them to them as soon as possible.

 They wish him a happy birthday because one day later, on August 13yh, he would be celebrating his birthday, and he replied: «My birthday is here today celebrating with you.»

Marubia tells us: I can only tell you that my happiness was so great that I did not cry anymore for that return and that separation again from my family, the emotion was so great that I did not remember to call my family, when I did I was already in the Gambia, it was so My joy was intense, like that of my family when they saw the meeting with Fidel on the Cuban television news.

 We did not stop talking about what I felt to have that giant in front of me, to be able to talk in particular with him, I still do not have the right word to describe what I felt when he threw his arm around my shoulders, and we walked together towards that elevator that would take us to celebrate the happiness of that meeting and his birthday.

 A few days later they received the photo as he promised them.

This November 25th, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his physical disappearance, we remember him as the paradigm of all worthy Cubans, the beacon that guides and illuminates the path of truth, justice, solidarity and humanism.

 Fidel will continue to be the eternal banner of humanism, loyalty, patriotism, humility and commitment.

He will be forever in the present tense and his immense capacity to dream for the well-being of the dispossessed is evident in the fulfillment of the concept of Revolution that today leaves us all generations of Cubans.

 Let us continue as he taught us, never to fight for glory or honors, but for battles and tasks, let us continue to be accomplices and protagonists of his wishes.

 (*) Professor and Collaborator of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Gambia he present tense and his immense capacity