Who am I
September 1 - September 22, 2002
A few days from a travelstory of Arnold van Wezel
In total we had three gatherings for the brigade Jose Marti. The last one was helt on the Cuban Embassy on the 27th of July 2002. On the 26th of July Cuba was celebrating a national holiday, because 43 years ago Batista attacked the Moncade Barracks. On the brigade-gathering I gave information about the purpose and use of having a brigade and about international solidarity. Each one of the brigadists was very enthousiastic and without any patience to leave for Cuba.
Finally the big moment had come on the first of September
2002 to fly towards Cuba. Prior we asked permission to record the brigade on film, and
this request was granted. Unfortunately we couldn't leave together for Cuba. Wim will
arrive on September 8, but he waved us out on Schiphol. He was very jealous because we
September 8, 2002
After arriving I immediately climed up, taking a path
that doesn't deserve to even be called "path". All clay is being taken by the
rain and what's left is only stones and steep slots. Normally I walk up in one breath, but
now I had to stop four times, which probably has to do with my age. Some pieces ar soo
steep, that you can only walk step by step at a temperature between 20 and 24 degrees
Celsius. Once getting on top it certainly is worth it. Heavy breathing and sweating as
hell we arrive on top at an attitude of 300 metres, distance 1 mile. We don't keep track
of time here...
We slept late in the hotel. The food is very different from the food in the Campamento. We devide in four groups, so we can take four visits. I visit a provincial childrens hospital. Outside we visit a lecture about the hospital. Healthcare is very good. Only in Cienfeugos childs-deathrate is 5.8 on every 1000 born living babies. This is also being recognized by the international world healthcare organization. All over the country this rate is 7.8, equal to more developed countries and a huge lead to lesser developed countries. This has to do with the fact that each 300 civilians have 1 familydoctor, so there's always someone to act when needed. One handicap is the fact that medicins all have to be imported which makes it very expensive.
During the questionround the brigadists act surprised that healthcare in Cuba has all that is needed. They probably didn't expect this on Cuba. The hospital looks sober, but it's clean. A little paint here and there wouldn't be ugly at all though. The chlorine of the desinfection is smelling. There are no long waitingterms. Two months is maximum. In Holland this is a lot worse, emergancies not accounted for. After this we leave for the inner town. The temperature now is 30 to 33 degrees Celsius. I'm sweating a lot and very much like taking showers.
In the evening we got a cultural evening, which meant that musicians peformed (mostly elderly misicians, about 70 years old) and one group of younger musicians (about 12 years old). A fine evening organized by the Cubans. After this we went to a disco in the hotel. Sometimes days and nights are very long, because the Cubans expect you to dance all night. Sometimes I'm really tired, so all I do then is watch. Probably my age has something to do with it. A perfect day has past again.