From Havana to El Cobre on foot: the pilgrimage of a Cuban for the health of his son moves crowds

From Havana to El Cobre on foot: the pilgrimage of a Cuban for the health of his son moves crowds

HAVANA, Feb. 11th  His name is Omar Quintero Montes De Oca, but everyone knows him as the “promise payer.” He left Marianao, Havana, on January 15,

on foot, with the final destination the Basilica National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, in Santiago de Cuba. Your goal is keep a promise for the health of his son, who is fighting cancer.

Quintero Montes de Oca, 56, pulls a cart that he built himself to protect an image of the patron saint of Cuba. It bears the route engraved and the name of his son, Lázaro Quintero Bermúdez, the reason for a journey that has become a social phenomenon.

The “payer of promises” arrived in Ciego de Ávila on Tuesday and in his wake has found the spiritual and material support of dozens of Cubans sympathetic to their cause. There are many images shared on Facebook that show the pilgrimage of this man, whom the church of the Cathedral of San Eugenio de la Palma, in that province, opened its doors for him to rest.

The journalist José Alemán Mesa reported on his Facebook profile about Quintero Montes de Oca’s stop in a village near the Central Highway, known as La Virgen or La Caridad, where he paid homage to the image of the Virgen de la Caridad that It has been there since the 1940s.

“And we arrived at La Virgen, Guayacanes, Majagua, Ciego de Ávila, a blessed place that has accompanied this town since the 1940s. Omar donated 10,000 pesos for its maintenance. Generosa’s happiness is indescribable,” said the reporter, who shared several images of the meeting.

“My little boy was a strong, beautiful boy. He liked to exercise and one day he started with pain. We thought it was typical of those activities. When doing the plate they found the tumour. And that’s where it all started,” explained the pilgrim in an interview conducted by the newspaper Escambray.

“He calls me constantly to find out where I’m going and how I’m doing. I’m already 56 years old, I’m hypertensive and I suffer from a herniated disc that hasn’t even noticed my walk. My preparation to face the journey is only psychological

The forces are there, so much so that I have smoked since I was 14 years old and now I realize that I am whole. I climbed the hills of Matanzas as if nothing had happened. Of course, I know that my faith is very much in that“, He said.

His stops in the more than 400 kilometers he has travelled have not gone unnoticed. Phrases such as “A man walks to El Cobre for his son!”, “If you see the payer of promises, help him,” have gone viral on social networks, and so it has been.

“From San José I have received a lot of help. I promised not to sleep in any private house, but on its outskirts, and since both my Virgencita de la Caridad and Yemayá are made of water, I can only bathe in rivers, even if I have to break the ice in their waters“, He said.

He also said that it took almost 12 hours to pass from Guayos to the provincial capital of Sancti Spíritus. Many people received him on the edge of the Central Highway. Some with gifts of food, money, offerings, and others to take photos and tell him that they support him.

More than 20 motorcycles and citizens on foot followed him for long stretches until he found refuge for a few hours at the Delio Luna Echemendía Fairgrounds, thanks to the solidarity efforts of members of the Facebook group “I’ll warn you. Here there are.”

“There was a moment when I almost fainted and my blood pressure went up, because there were too many people surrounding me and the whistles and music from the motorcycles. My head made me: boom!“, he recounted.

“I have no words to thank. They gave me too many things that I can’t carry because the weight of my cart prevents me from walking. I will share what I don’t need with those who do.

When I return to Havana, with the money I have left, I want to buy toys and donate them to children with cancer.. This has been a sisterhood,” she announced.

“I will arrive. I don’t know if on my knees, with my hands, but I will do it for my son and for all cancer patients in the world. You have to live it to know the cruelty of a disease that can affect anyone.”