The Grandson of Abdala

Hamdi Mahamdi, a popular young man in Jaruco, of Arab origin.
Hamdi Mahamdi, a popular young man in Jaruco, of Arab origin. Photo: Author.

Mayabeque, Cuba: A 32-year-old young man, short, dark and with raven hair has been walking the streets and houses of Jaruco for five years. The white coat reveals his profession and his accent, his Arabic origin.

His name is Hamdi Mahamdi, he was born in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and has something that attract people. But in recent times something ignites the charm of this endearing young of Jaruco: ​​ his grandfather bears the name of the same vaccine candidate that now protects him and millions of Cubans from the coronavirus: Abdala.

“My grandfather died when I was five years old, but I have the best memories of him: we used to go to his house and the family would get together, my uncles, my aunts. We, the Arabs, have something that, although there is distance, we are always united in the family sphere. They are also things typical of Muslims, of our religion that focuses you on loving family, respecting others. You get married, you have a family, but for example, every Friday, every fortnight, the whole family has to be together”.

Abdala is a very common Arabic name and means in that culture, servant of God, so it is frequently heard in the Tindouf province where Hamdi Mahandi was born and raised.

Dr. Hamdi, as he is known in Jaruco, became a doctor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the province of Granma and is one of the many fruits of the brotherhood between Cuba and Algeria.

This week he received the third dose of the vaccine candidate Abdala, which for him is like the miraculous potion of the magicians of Cuban science.

“One is always afraid of getting vaccinated and, honestly, I have never liked to get a vaccine without first knowing that it is effective, but I trust in the Cuban Revolution with my eyes closed, because thanks to that Revolution I was trained as a professional and it also happens that the vaccine is named after my grandfather. So you have to “get ahead”, it’s an intuition, a hunch and as it is called Abdala I tell myself: this is going to be the best!

Hamdi has been on this Island for eleven years that keeps him in love and from which he will take the warmth of his neighbors and his co-workers, the cup of coffee offered with love and even the Cuban slang that ignites his peculiar Spanish, full of music , golden sands and royal palms.

Abdala, as the name of the protagonist of the play created by José Martí in 1869 and as an alter ego, (the other self), of Martí himself, symbolizes the purest love for the country. A better name could not be found for a biotechnological product made in Cuba and called to save life and the nation. Perhaps that is why, and in some way, the doctor Hamdi repeats the Master’s verses to the beat of the beneficial injection: “Can’t you see that Nubia awaits from my arm / the freedom that a barbarian threatens!”

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Marlene Caboverde

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