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Efforts in Cuba that also “save”

Nasobucos regaladosGestures of love and solidarity have always spontaneously occurred during hard times in Cuba – gestures by a people that knows how to rise to the task in the face of difficulties.

Recalling recovery periods following hurricanes produces hundreds of anecdotes, which reflect the essence of this island, where brotherhood among the people is cultivated, the sense of all belonging to the big house, and the virtue that “good is done, just because,” as Martí taught us.

It is no accident that, in these times of pandemic, social media and neighborhoods are filled with stories that, although simple and common, are moving.

I speak, for example, of the private flat tire repair shop where, since the beginning of the covid-19 battle, ambulances are not charged; the campesino who, without thinking twice, fills a truck with produce and delivers it to an isolation center; or of the “homemade” face masks placed at the side of the road to the capital, unlabeled but with a sign bearing only a few words that stop traffic: “A present for you.”

I speak, too, of the professors who combined their scarce resources and much talent to engineer 3d masks, destined for the protection of health personnel; of the journalism student who was one of the first to risk infection with the new coronavirus, by collaborating in preparing food and cleaning at a center where those suspected of carrying the virus are accommodated; and of a medical student who, in his daily door-to-door survey to identify possible cases, came across an older man living alone and made it his task to do his shopping.

I am also talking about the neighbors of a nurse, working long hours, who recognized her efforts and posted a beautiful message on her door: “If you need us to shop for you, if you need us to clean your house, if you need to cry or smile, you will find us outside your window. For anything at all, we are here.”

I am talking, why not, about the people who continue to work in indispensable positions to maintain the vitality of the country, like the woman who travels more than 20 kilometers, any way she can, to guarantee the quality of the rice destined for our people; or the artists who have not stopped creating and promoting culture, now on digital stages; or those men and women who have switched professions to do the washing, ironing, scrubbing and mopping where the virus is most dangerous.

I am simply talking about the details that make the difference in this struggle for life, like finding a hospitalized 18-month-old’s favorite fried plantain; or a nurse taking care of a baby girl, barely five months old, for 19 days just like a mother; or a young man putting an amplifier and speakers on his doorsteps every evening, to remind everyone on the block to join the applause at 9:00 pm, to thank those on the front lines.

And there are more examples, many more throughout the country who have been “vaccinated” against indifference, who have not been captured by the lens of a camera and posted by a friend or family member on Facebook or Twitter. They go about their daily lives, almost in silence, distributing love, providing solutions, finding alternatives to get around the blockade.

These are Cubans who make us proud and “infect” us for the better with their efforts, who, along with our doctors and nurses, are also “saving lives.”

 (Source: Granma)

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