Alexis Talavera: I left Cuba August 22,
1994 on a small raft with five others trying to reach the Florida Keys,
where a better future and freedom of speech and writing were welcoming
us at in the Promise Land. I was seventeen when I made this decision.
Two days later, we were picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard twenty miles
away from our destination, and taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with many
other refugees. On December 29, 1994, I finally arrived in the United
States of America.
Soon after, I started
English classes at the Miami Dade Community College and worked two jobs,
one job during week days and the other on weekends. In 1996, I moved to
New Mexico after friends of my mother invited me to live with them.
After living a year in New Mexico, I could speak and write some English.
I met my wife Katherine, who helped me to get a job at Wild Oats Natural
Food Market, where I climbed through various positions starting as a
maintenance clerk, speaking very little English, and finished
supervising the entire store.
Through this time of
hard work, I always kept my dream of childhood in mind to become a
medical doctor to improve people’s health and save lives in the process.
I got my GED (i.e., high-school equivalency) at a local community
college. I’m now in my senior year as a biochemistry major at the
University of New Mexico.
I have two children,
Marissa and Alex who I adore.
Educated in Mexico City and the United States, Roberto
Astorga has engaged in multidisciplinary fields such as the
humanities, acting, yoga and public health. In 1996, Roberto began his
path in public health working in the development of outreach programs
for migrant and seasonal farm workers in Mount Vernon, Washington. His
restless, creative energy and his experience working in the media has
enabled him to fill the gap between the value of research and the
dissemination of knowledge to the Latino Community in a culturally
He has produced a series of health education radio
shows including “Salud y Comunidad” (Health and Community) and the
successful program “Hablemos sobre el cancer” (“Let’s talk about
cancer”) in Oregon and Washington. Currently, Roberto works in short
time project for Cascade Aids Project, focusing his efforts to raise
awareness in the Latino Community about HIV and AIDS. “My passion is to
combine science and culture, so the community can understand complex,
scientific information in a culturally sensitive context”.