Things That Matter

A Cuban Doctor Was Stuck In Mexico Awaiting For Asylum So He Came The Border Camp’s Only Doctor

Most stories coming from the US-Mexico border involve tragedy. Whether it be the separation of families by the Trump Administration, the drowning of migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande, or the tens of thousands of asylum seekers missing appointments because of cruel Border Patrol agents, we’re all too often inundated with tragedy.

One man, a migrant, himself is working hard along the border to help those just like him – while he himself is facing an uncertain future.

Twenty-eight-year-old Dairon Elisondo Rojas has been treating patients who live in the same teeming migrant camp that he calls home.

Dr Elisondo is a native of Cuba and he has become the only full-time doctor in a sprawling tent city that has grown at the base of a bridge that connects the Mexican city of Matamoros to the United States. More than 2,500 migrants call the camp home as they wait for their asylum cases to wind their way through immigration court in Brownsville, Texas.

In a story by the New York Times, he noted that he often treats children with diarrhea, colds and asthma, among other ailments. Some he examined, treated and sent on their way with cough or cold medicine. For those who required special care, like a boy with a broken leg, Dr Elisondo arranged a transfer to the local Mexican hospital.

He works every day and holds office hours from 10am to 4pm but is often on-call as the tent city’s only medical official. For his services, he earns about $30 USD per day. He told the New York Times:

“This is perfect, perfect,” Dr Elisondo said in Spanish about the arrangement. “It’s what I know. It’s what I do best.”

So perfect he has not taken a day off since starting work in late October.

Just like the hundreds of migrants he treats, Dr. Elisondo himself is a resident at the tent city as he awaits his asylum case in the United States.

Like the migrants under his care, the doctor is stranded in Mexico by the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which asylum-seekers who show up at the border are only allowed to enter the United States for court appearances. He could be stuck in Matamoros for several more months, waiting for an answer on his immigration case.

Dr Elisondo, who has a speciality in critical care, has experience working in challenging environments thanks to Cuba’s medical-training program, which dispatches newly minted doctors on missions to impoverished allied countries.

After medical school, Dr Elisondo was posted for nearly three years to a government clinic in Venezuela. With that country’s economy reeling, he witnessed close-up the suffering wrought by a shortage of medicine and food. He was recalled home after he became a vocal critic of the government of Nicolás Maduro.

“The government brought me back to Cuba, and that had consequences,” he said.

In his home country, he said, he was barred from practicing medicine and harassed by police. Feeling persecuted and endangered, he and his girlfriend scrounged up enough money to pay for travel to the United States to request asylum. They journeyed more than a month by plane, boat and bus until they reached the southwestern border in mid-August.

For decades, Cuban refugees had special access to the US asylum system but that all changed under the Obama Administration.

While Cubans for decades were allowed under a special policy to remain in the United States if they were able to make it there by land or sea, that welcome ended in the final days of the Obama administration. Cubans, who once may have travelled to Florida, now are subject to the same stringent immigration policies applied to other asylum-seekers on the southwestern border.

Being stuck in Mexico and needing income, Dr Elisondo sought work.

He had already found work in a plant that manufactures cosmetics cases but one day, as he passed the ever-growing migrant camp near the international bridge, he spotted a big banner tied to a fence inscribed with the words “Medical” and “Médico.” Several migrants were talking to a person with a stethoscope dangling from her neck. It was a pop-up clinic opened in October by Global Response Management, an international nonprofit organization whose volunteer doctors, nurses and medics have been deployed to places such as Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

On a typical day, Dr Elisondo and a rotating roster of US volunteer health workers see about 50 patients.

Credit: Iliana Panich-Linsman

In addition to the camp’s residents, they serve another 1,000 migrants living elsewhere in Matamoros.

Exposure to the elements, overcrowding and lack of sanitation — there are few showers and the portable latrines are foul — have created conditions for illness to spread in the sprawling camp. Yet many migrants fear venturing far outside the camp, even to seek medical care, because so many people have been victims of crime.

Dr Elisondo has stabilised people who had epileptic seizures, appendicitis and heart attacks. But patients with upper-respiratory-tract infections, pneumonia and skin conditions such as scabies represent the largest share of his caseload.

The Steelers Will Have Their International Game This Year, And They Want To Play In Mexico For Their Fans

Entertainment

The Steelers Will Have Their International Game This Year, And They Want To Play In Mexico For Their Fans

steelers / Instagram

It’s official, the Steelers will have their international game this year, but the place is not yet confirmed. Previous exhibition games were held in Montreal, Barcelona, London, and Tokyo. It’s been years since the team competed directly south of the border. And since Mexico is the home to one of largest fan bases of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they want to play their international game against the Jacksonville Jaguars south of the border

This time, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking forward to playing in Mexico. 

The Steelers are happy to play an international game, but they have a clear preference for where that game would be. The president of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, said, “We continue to raise our hand and say we’re interested in playing a game in Mexico.”  

The Steelers are expected to have an international game this year like they have in previous years.

One of them is their match against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, it has been rumored that the Jaguars will have a game in London sometime this year.

People are already showing their excitement on social media because who doesn’t want to see the Steelers playing in Mexico.

“I need the best seat for the event of the year” tweeted one user. “I’ll sell my soul to be there,” wrote another die-hard fan. 

Mexico is home to a large portion of the Steeler Nation.

Steeler Nation, as their fans call themselves, proudly wear black and gold in Mexico. Fernando Camacho, a Mexican fan shared this saying in Spanish in an interview with ‘Behind the Steel curtain’, “Mi Corazon y mi alma son Amarillo y negro pero mi pasion y mi orgullo son de acero.” (My heart and soul are Black and Gold, but my passion and pride are made of steel.)

So naturally, the team’s first choice for an international game is to play in Mexico.

Rooney added during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that, “They have to work out the logistics and all the pieces of the puzzle to have a game down there. Our first choice would be to play a game in Mexico if we have an international trip.” 

The Steelers have a history with Mexico that runs deep.

The Steelers played the Vikings in London in 2013, but have a longer history with Mexico. They played an exhibition game there in 2000, and have conducted clinics there in the past to try to drum up interest. They’ve also played in exhibition games in Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, Tokyo, and Dublin. Rooney said that they prefer to have it in Mexico where they have a large number of fans. Mexico is also a neutral ground for both teams. 

READ: Alejandro Villanueva’s Jersey Is Top Seller After He Was Only Steelers Player To Stand During National Anthem

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

relationships

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

My husband and I have been married for a little over three years now and he is still learning so much about myself and what it means to be Latino. I’m not talking about me having a big Cuban family all stationed in Miami (3-0-5 🙌🏽) or the fact that the best jokes in Netflix’s “One Day At A Time” are in Spanish. I’m talking about the little things that to me have always been a normal part of life. This is what has continuously caught him off guard…

If you ask him, I’m already turning into my abuela because of the things he is finding out, which to me is a compliment. Here are just a few of the things that he is starting to understand about our future together.

1. Seasoning your beans is hard AF but abuela makes it look easy.

CREDIT: gifnik.com

No matter how many times I try or how many techniques I use, my bean always turn out bland AF. This wouldn’t have been a problem if he didn’t have my abuela’s frijoles negro because now he has a reference point as to what beans are supposed to taste like. Though, he doesn’t cook so my bland beans will have to do.

2. That whole personal space thing is a white construct.

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I missed my hot mess buddy!

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One of the first things he realized about being married to a Latino is that all that personal space he once had is gone. I even go into the bathroom to talk to him when he’s in the shower because that’s 👏🏾 how 👏🏾 I 👏🏾 was 👏🏾 raised. 👏🏾

3. Family obligations cannot and will not be avoided.

Even if it means that you have to spend $800 to travel 3,000 miles back home for a weekend for your nephew’s first birthday, there is no getting out of family events. #BasedOnTrueEvents

4. My family raised me to be super eco-friendly (and very frugal).

The first time my husband saw me washing a Ziploc bag he asked if we had run out and that he could get some from the store. My response: “But, like, why do you want to waste money like that?”

5. Selena was and will always be La Reina.

CREDIT: anything-for-selenaaas / Tumblr

I know. I know. How did he not know this before is what you’re thinking, right? But you can’t hold it against him. I don’t think Selena had a very big following in West Virginia. There was no way he could have known that she is more relevant now than ever. Not to mention that she still wins Latin Billboard awards and I play her music nonstop.

6. My abuela’s obsession with reusing containers has been passed down.

After he came down from the initial shock of thinking that I left the sour cream in the Tupperware cabinet overnight, he made a joke about me becoming my abuela. I’ve never been so proud.

7. Calling a loved one “gordo” is not offensive.

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@f_uanteik #migordo #iloveyou #happiness #happynights

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Because, you know, someone calling you “my little fatty” is not okay. Imagine his shock when he heard a family member call me “gordito” in front of him. He was shook.

8. Every chore I do is just an excuse to put on Celia Cruz and dance.

CREDIT: mitú

Sure, I can cook in silence but nothing makes my time in the kitchen more enjoyable than some “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” or “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” blaring in the background. Plus, he is starting to learn some of her greatest hits.

9. Seventy-five percent of Latino cooking is just making that sabor.

To quote my husband: “Oh. So ropa vieja is like making pot roast then you make the flavor (sofrito). Yeah. White people are too lazy to make all that flavor.”

10. Being extra and loud is just in our blood.

I still have that trophy on our desk in the living room and he has mentioned moving it a couple times. Then I stubbed my toe, fall to the floor in tears, and he remembers why it is so prominently displayed.

11. Hot Cheetos are life.

He didn’t know they were so versatile but he’s not upset that we get to eat them all the time.

READ: 14 Things That Happen When A Gringo Marries Into A Latino Family

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