In Their Own Words :: Rigoberto Gonzalez Ruiz

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Anesthesiologist, served in Pakistan

I worked at the Northwest border in Pakistan. The first hospital we set up was in the territory of the Pashtun, an ethnic group of Islam, where any wrong doing must be met with revenge. At first, we had difficulty getting them to come to the hospital. But little by little, we got to know their customs and they came. Cuban women did the field work to places 1500 meters up in the mountains, especially to work with the pregnant women and children. The most difficult moment was when we left—they cried and tore their clothes. First they prayed that we wouldn't leave. Then, that we would arrive back in Cuba safely. They told us that our work would stay in their hearts forever.

Read Cuba's Cure, our article on the Cuban health care system.
And see ¡Salud!, a film on Cuba's global health mission.