I could not say goodbye to my children
"I could not say goodbye, I left and maybe 20 days from now, in their innocence they await my arrival, it will not happen, that's why I beg your pardon". This is how Dr. Arnaldo Cedeño Núñez confesses that since 2016 he has been working with the indigenous children from the Apalai Waiana ethnic group in Brazil.
"I will never forget that day. It was September 11, 2016, the morning was cloudy, there was an omen of rain and turbulence. I got on the plane, I traveled from the airport in the city of Macapá in the State of Amapá, in Brazil, to the Bona village belonging to the municipality of Almeirim in the state of Parà ".
Dr. Arnaldo Cedeño Núñez delves into his memory, I feel he relives those moments, for him very tense, "I do not deny that I was afraid, imagine only the pilot and I were the ones who would travel, he gave me the instructions for emergency cases because we would go through the Amazon jungle until reaching the indigenous community of the Apalai Waiana ethnic group".
"The trip lasted two hours, the journey was complicated and risky, only after a few trips I began to appreciate the beautiful and almost virgin nature that I could see from above".
I met the young doctor, who comes from the province of Granma, through the social networks as a result of the declaration of the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba of not to continue at the More Doctors program, Cedeño published in his profile a note: "Sorry for not saying goodbye to you!!!"
Who were the ones he asked for forgiveness?
"I went to the indigenous village the day after President Bolsonaro was elected. For two years, every twenty days I lived with the natives. There was no electric light, no telephone, no internet, we only had a television in the health post that worked 2 or 3 hours at night while there was fuel to power a power plant, but in those days the TV set was damaged and I did not know anything about what was happening".
" I had a close relationship with the children of the community, I always brought them sweets and in return they offered me the little food they had, I learned from their culture, games, songs, innocence, I even cried when they got sick and it hurt me that their future was locked only in the jungle and rivers that served them as sustenance".
"Two days before I finally left the place I wanted to take a rest at night, I placed the hammock outside the health post and I went to bed. In the village there was a party, it was then that some children came and asked me permission to sing some songs in the indigenous language, I did not record them, I do not forgive myself. They saved me that day from a cobra bite because they discovered that under the hammock there was a small one, one of them with his sandal, almost barefoot, killed the animal".
For a few seconds, Dr. Cedeño remains silent.
"I do not know why I had the feeling that something was not right, but I never thought I would not see them again. I promised to spend Christmas with them, it's an important date for the Brazilians, I could not say goodbye, I left and maybe 20 days in their innocence await my arrival, it will not happen, I could not say goodbye and that's why I ask them sorry".
What do you bring to Cuba from the indigenous children of the Apalai Waiana ethnic group?
"I take the best memories from them, for example when the plane arrived they all came with their smiley faces to meet me, at the beginning they touched me to feel the texture of my skin that they noticed was different".
"They were curious and asked me what ethnic group the Cuban doctor was, so I explained to them that in Cuba we did not have a cacique or tribes".
"One day they inquired about our food and I was very moved to know that they only ate cassava, yucca and fruits, they are poorly nourished especially the smallest ones".
I perceive emotion in Dr. Arnaldo's voice, he pauses to finally tell me:
"I gave them my love, I taught them to dance, sing, understand our culture and my only sadness is not being able to hug them in my farewell".
Taken from Cubadebate
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