“Dialogue at Six in the Morning”
On the Cubadebate.cu website for July 28, 2011, one reads that, “Dr. Marcus Dutra sent us this little story. He’s a Brazilian doctor who graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). Marcus is providing services now in an indigenous community called Nabasanuka in the Amacuro delta in Venezuela. He sent a commentary to Arleen Rodriguez, about her article on January 3, 2011 entitled ‘Men of the Year,’ [in Spanish] We can’t help sharing Marcus’ letter with our readers,” Rodriguez wrote in a photo-essay appearing a few days later. The letter [in Spanish], translated by WTW, appears below along with photos of Marcus and people he takes care of.
I have not seen the text that you wrote for Cubadebate, but thanks for your words about me. I’m sure that if it were not for the Cuban Revolution and the Bolivarian Revolution, none of this would have been possible.
And what luck that you sent the email today. Yesterday throughout the night, until four in the morning sharp, I was involved with the delivery of a lady with eclampsia. She was having seizures. I applied every kind of treatment measures that were possible, taking into consideration that I can’t count on all the resources of a hospital here and didn’t have the time to transfer her to another center because it was early in the morning.
The boat belonging to the clinic didn’t have a single drop of gasoline, and now she was beginning to go into labor. It happed, however, that after all the stress of the situation, with the good possibility that she would not live, everything turned out well. Finally a healthy child was born, a fat little boy. The mother began to improve. I was at her side all night, waiting for anything. She got better, had no more seizures, her blood pressure normalized, and now she had no more pain and was calm. The medication was slowly being reduced, together with the fluids. Everything quieted down.
When she slept and I could go outside to get some fresh air, it was, like I say, four in the morning. I walked down to the little dock there is in front of the clinic, made of half rotten boards. A silence fell over the community. There were a few little houses with the lights on giving off only enough light to allow for vigils. There was a deep silence over the whole village. A dog was asleep on the boards. I couldn’t keep from feeling very pleased for having helped a mother and her child.
A healthy pride took possession of my soul. And feeling that way, I couldn’t help from asking: Damn! Does Fidel know the real extent of the good he’s done for humanity? Can he perhaps imagine that in a tiny community in the poorest state in Venezuela, on the Orinoco, at four in the morning there’s a son of ELAM, a doctor, saving people that everybody has forgotten? Will he ever be able to understand how much they need him, how much they need men like him to bring happiness to human beings? Will he understand that there are not enough words to honor him? And will this child know someday that if it were not for Fidel Castro, he himself would not be alive?
In other words, without a Revolution, there would be no ELAM. Without ELAM, I would not have been a doctor, and if I was not here at the moment the mother began having convulsions, it probably would have happened eventually that the baby would be dying, or perhaps the mother. It was then, Arleen, that I felt more than ever the pride of all the Cuban internationalists: the ones that went off to Algeria in 1960, ones that went to the Congo, those that were with Che in Bolivia, and others who fought in Angola. I felt a shiver in my belly, Arlene, when it dawned on me that I too am a Cuban internationalist… a soldier, a revolutionary, under orders from the Cuban revolution and this incredible giant Fidel Castro.
I am getting this letter off hurriedly, so it may not all be understandable. But I want very much to share it with you, and I can’t leave it for later. And also they are knocking at the door now calling for the doctor. It seems a child has come in with dehydration. I have to go. Take good care of yourself there, thank you for such beautiful words, and of course you may share my letter. There’s no problem! A big kiss!
Dr. Marcus Dutra in Nabasanuka.
A child of the Amacuro Delta . Photo: Marcus Dutra
Chiildren, photo: Marcus Dutra
What I see from my window. photo: Marcus Dutra
The settlement at the edge of the Orinoco. Photo: Marcus Dutra
The name of the river comes from the Tamanaco people, who call it the Orinucu.. Photo: Marcus Dutra
Everyday life Photo: Marcus Dutra.