Facundo and His 50th Birthday Party

Jorge Milanes Despaigne

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, April 20 — Facundo is 50, and has gray hair and a beard. He’s thin and spends most of the time in a wheelchair.

Genetic problems forced him into a state of immobility, while his hands barely serve to wipe crumbs of food on his face.

I met him when I was visiting a former coworker of mine, Aleida. He’s her brother.

Facundo had a birthday yesterday, which was why his family was there celebrating in a very emotionally warm environment.

It was a big party. They had invited a trio to liven up the evening that was attended by neighbors and friends. Then we all shared in a delicious dinner: a Creole dish, which is a must at any respectable party in Cuba.

But before eating, I went over to Aleida to offer to feed her brother, who is unable to lift food to his mouth.

Facundo can’t speak, however he understands and tries to respond to whatever you ask. Since he was wearing a shirt of the Industriales baseball team, I asked him if he was a fan, and he replied with a big smile while nodding.

He was able to point to his bib, and I — realizing what he wanted — pulled it up to cover his chest. I gave him more food little by little. I noticed his concern for cleanliness when eating, since he would repeatedly wipe his mouth on his bib every time he needed to.

Facundo is fortunate to have a family that loves him and attends to his needs. He’s one among millions who enjoy family love for such people who are physically or mentally disabled and require respect, solidarity and company to live in this world.


Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.