In Australia, I was aware of Fidel, Che and the Cuban Revolution. That love and admiration only increased during my stay in London to study Medicine. As luck would have it, I ended up in Miami, became acquainted with the poor Cubans of Miami who were seeking medical help at the teaching hospitals of University of Miami. Many of them were dying in Oncologic wards but they were fiercely loyal to the land of their birth. The proximity of the West Indies, the allure of the Spanish language, the proximity all nurtured in me a love for the words of the English speaking Caribbean and the revolutionary spirit of the Spanish speaking Cuba.
Soon Fidel, Che and Pablo Neruda were in my world view. Beginning July 1994, I started to travel to Cuba, at first as a visitor to the island, visiting almost all parts of the island, and then in 1996, everything changed with my association with the University of Havana, and Cuba has been the centre of my universe.
In 2006, two things happened. Fidel became ill and my relationship with Europe began (I have travelled to France, England and Belgium more than 100 times since then)
Woken up by a text 5 am on this saturday
Fidel died at 10 29 pm last night.
Got up and got dressed and went for a walk, to feel the air of this grieving city this morning. Only sound you could hear was the sound of children playing. An eery silence hung over the city and the grief could be felt.
There was no way to get out of the grief of loosing El Jefe Comandante.
Every single Cuban felt it.
I was very happy to be among the Cubans here in the island on this day