As a beautiful task, it is regarded by Elvira Urquisa Ortiz her participation as a Conrado Benítez teacher when she was 12 years of age in a far-off place from Jobabo municipality in Las Tunas.
It was a time for living with a humble country family and sharing with them, apart from the lessons, agricultural works, household chores, food, as well as its habits and traditions.
“In my specific case, I taught only one of them at the daytime, and along with other two girls, we taught 13 people at a rustic little school near that house at night.” The current 69-year old woman said.
“All was then catching our interest, she remembers and mentioned the astonishment felt by them before the many stars which could barely be seen in the sky of the city. She did not forget the smell of the flowers and the sing of the nocturnal birds.”
Elvira Urquisa Ortiz remembered that it was a new environment where they were very happy. “It was there when we got a painstaking care by the owners of that house, we fraternized with them and their neighbors, got to know their habits, played with their dogs and other animals and we certainly experienced a nice stay without any worry, except the one about teaching them how to read and write properly and defending the Cuban Revolution as those were times when the counterrevolutionary bandits were threatening. Therefore, the farmers were being trained and militiamen.
“Once they all learnt how to read and write, we made a party in that place and we got back to Havana city to celebrate the success in a mass congregation at the local Revolution square with the presence of Fidel Castro and it was then when Cuba was declared as a territory free of illiteracy and we then asked the leader of the Cuban Revolution what else we had to do, and he then answered that we had to study.
“We were given a scholarship and studied the high school studies and once we finished that educational level, we accepted the call to be trained as teachers for local regions such as Minas del Frío, Topes de Collantes and Tarará .”
With a pedagogical work as a teacher of 43 years, Elvira remembers that taking into account the then nation’s need for teachers; they taught in some territories such as Sagua la Grande, Quemado de Güines and Encrucijada, among others.
Since the academic 1974-1975 course, she remained as a teacher at the Nadiezka Kurpkaya School in Habana del Este municipality where she got retired due to health problems. She is currently a collaborator in different subjects.
As a way of analysis in terms of the importance of the literacy campaign for the educational development of the Cuban people and the subsequent Latin American one, Elvira Urquisa Ortiz thanked the chance about participating in such human work:
“Our nation utterly changed when some time later appear technicians, engineers, economists and professionals through all the professional branches.”
Elvira Urquisa Ortiz could not control her emotion while remembering her days as a local Conrado Benítez teacher while she was then walking and singing with other teachers the literacy campaign anthem throughout mountains and she was discovering the future and wearing her uniform, lamp and reader by feeling certain that she would always remember the literacy campaign.
By Teresa Valenzuela García