Much-loved Cuban professor in Namibia for two-month stay

16 Dec 2013 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 16 DEC (NAMPA) – Cuban professor Miriam Rodriguez arrived in Namibia last week to meet her over 8 000 'children'.
Rodriguez, 67, is in Namibia for a two-month visit on invitation from some former Namibian students who were in exile in Cuba under her care. Some Namibian students stayed there for more than 20 years.
She was called to Namibia in order for her former learners to express their gratitude to her for all she had done for them - in one way or the other.
Rodriguez contributed positively to the lives of more than 8 000 Namibian students who studied in Cuba during the dark days of Namibia’s liberation struggle.
“She was a matron, teacher, counselor, mother (a very strict one), confidant and friend,” said one of her former learners.
Rodriguez played all these roles while also brining up her own children - Rudolf or “Rudolfito” as he was known then, and his big sister Tailí.
Some Namibians were sent to Cuba by the Swapo-Party liberation movement as young as eight years old - most of them were survivors of the Cassinga massacre of 1978.
Through the guidance and care of professor Rodriguez, these girls and boys managed to complete their primary and secondary education on the Island of Youth, and from there they were sent for tertiary education to several provinces in Cuba. Not all of them completed their studies, as some decided to come back home earlier and others due to other factors.
Today, those who went through the Cuban education system are participating in the country's development as teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, journalists, and ministers, among others.
Rodriguez was received at the Hosea Kutako International Airport with cheers and ululations by over 100 of her former students.
Tears were flowing down her cheeks as she greeted some of the now grown men and women whom she took care of.
“You have grown so fast my children. You are now grown men and women. I am here to see you and see my grandchildren,” said an emotional Rodriguez.
She will be in Namibia for two months, and said she wants to see everybody who studied in Cuba, saying they must bring along their children.
“Life was not the same since you left. I missed all of you,” said Rodriguez in Spanish.
Many of the former students Nampa spoke to described Rodriguez as a loving and caring mother.
“She was a pillar of support and a loving and strict mother,” said Vistorina Jairus, who is currently an economist at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“She has a warm heart and is a beautiful human being,” stated Ndinelao Ndingoya, who is also an economist in the Ministry of Trade Industry.
“Rodriguez was more than a subject teacher. She taught us to live, she was a disciplinarian,” Ndingoya said about her former teacher.
As part of her visit, Rodriguez is expected to meet former Namibian president Sam Nujoma and several Cabinet Ministers at Nujoma's farm in Otavi on Tuesday.
She is also scheduled to tour the Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati, Erongo regions before she departs for Cuba in February next year.