Havana Cuba. – “If the situation is difficult in the capital, in the East of the country it is even tougher”, he tells CubaNet Melani López Montero, 16, who packed her bags last June and left her native Moa, in Holguín, heading to Havana in search of better opportunities.
His mother, Almarai López Moreno, was in the capital. Four years ago the woman had undertaken the same adventure with her other two daughters, also minors.
When Melani arrived in Havana, she saw that her mother could only afford rents in poor conditions in unhealthy neighborhoods. Her chances never improved and the teenager ended up spending, with the rest of her family, one “arrive and set” and another, in the municipality of San Miguel del Padrón.
“I have never been able to have a fixed place,” says his mother. “When you have minor children, the owners are afraid that you won’t want to leave the house later and that’s why they take you out every so often. It is always the same”, explains the mother of the conditions imposed on her by the people who rent her.
And everything got worse when Melani got pregnant six months ago.
On the street and without help
Her belly began to grow and the landlords refused to admit her. Consequently, Almarai and the other two girls also had no place to be, so Melani made the decision to separate from the rest of the family and try her luck alone. To make matters worse, the father of the creature abandoned her.
In his condition and without a stable income he was never able to get a new location. She now spends the nights at the house of friends who offer her shelter, but the aid does not last more than a month. “People are afraid that the child will be born and then they won’t be able to take me out, even though my intention is not to force myself into anyone’s house,” says Melani.
Nor does he have the resources to buy food, which is why he has asked the Government of San Miguel del Padrón several times for a supply notebook or temporary card that allows you to buy your regulated food, although without success.
At the last minute, she managed to get an acquaintance from the Las Piedras neighborhood, also in San Miguel del Padrón, to register her in his notebook on the condition that she could only buy basic basket products, giving up the modules that are sold through the CIMEX and Caribe chain stores.
Recently, she was diagnosed with anemia for the second time during her pregnancy. As she affirms, she does not have breakfast or lunch, and she eats “one day yes and no others”. The few foods that she manages to eat are vomited because of the nausea caused by the pregnancy.
At the same time, without the supply book, the food that corresponds to newborns in Cuba remains in the air.
The Maternal and Child Care Program (PAMI) operates in all health areas of the country, a system directed by the Ministry of Public Health that, in theory, has the objective of monitoring and guaranteeing the well-being of children, pregnant women, and postpartum women.
But, at six months pregnant, Melani assures that she has not received medical follow-up or the diet that doctors indicate for pregnant women. “In the Family Doctor’s Office, the doctor is never there, or she leaves and they put a new one that doesn’t show up either,” she lamented.
She belongs to Clinic number 1 of the Pedro Pí polyclinic, in San Miguel del Padrón. She has only received care there a couple of times, when she has needed to have an ultrasound or be seen by a gynecologist.
In one of the few consultations that she was able to attend, they suggested that she be admitted to the Diez de Octubre Gynecobstetric University Hospital, but the young woman refused, alluding to the fact that 10 premature babies died in that medical center last January.
“These are things that happen, but I don’t want to take risks. Above all, because I am aware that in the conditions in which I am carrying out my pregnancy, my son may be born prematurely, or with problems, ”she said.
He also went to the Social Assistance office in an attempt to solve the few layette items that the Government sells to pregnant women, but this “is almost always closed” or ignores help applicants.
In any case, she argues, more than the layette, she is concerned that her daughter is born healthy. She fears that she will have to live on the street and will not be able to feed her properly.
“I do not ask for more than something temporary to be with my daughter, even if it is a shack under a bridge; and a fucking notebook to take her little things, ”the young woman finished.