Friday, December 17, 2021

San Lázaro - A Saint and a Refuge

In Cuban Catholicism, Lazarus, the patron saint of the poor and sick, is represented as a homeless beggar surrounded by dogs. ... Cuba's Lazarus works miracles for the destitute and the infirm, making him one of the country's most popular saints
San Lázaro is also known as Babalú Ayé, an Orisha in Santería.

"San Lázaro Viqia " is also the name of an animal refuge in 
Santa Clara, Cuba.
San Lázaro has a place of honour at the refuge.
Every year on December 17th, thousands of worshippers from all over Cuba make the pilgrimage to the small church in Rincón, 17 km from Havana. Santeria and Catholic beliefs have blended as people honour Babalú Ayé, the deity with healing power, also known as San Lázaro or Lazarus. Many pilgrims who come to Rincón are sick. People crawl or walk on their knees, some of them are carrying a cross or a block of concrete. Believers in Saint Lazarus ask for health and prosperity.

And on December 17 San Lázaro is loaded onto the tri-cycle in 
Santa Clara for a tour.
On November 19 ..  I traveled to Cuba.
It was a long overdue trip. 
18 months since my last visit thanks to COVID
For many years 10kg of medications for humans was allowed to 
enter duty free.
With COVID , until the end of 2021, this was increased to UNLIMITED.

Added to that Resolution was an exemption for Veterinary Supplies
Resolution 430/2021, published in Official Gazette No. 79 Extraordinary of September 9, 2021, authorizes the “non-commercial import” to Cuba of “antibiotics, antifungals, antiparasitics, vitamin mineral supplements, instruments for veterinary use and accessories for pets, in their original containers, duly labeled and identified with the commercial and generic name or international common name “

With this opportunity I delivered medication and supples to Santa Clara.
We thank Dr.Michael Belovich and Yonge Street Animal Hospital for their donation making this delivery possible.
Collars and leashes

 Once I had my feet on the ground in Santa Clara
Dra.Roseli Ortega took me on a tour.

We started at Parque Vidal in the centre of Santa Clara. 

Dogs gather there as local protectors feed them.

If veterinary care is need, they receive it from volunteer Veterinarians.

Pregnant bitches are relocated to the refuge which is located in the "Hospital Zone"
I went for a ride along.

Puppies are then offered for adoption.
There is also a dedicated area for cats
San Lázaro Viqia celebrates it's second anniversary on this evening of December 17.
Obviously the dogs give thanks for this sanctuary
Volunteers are desperately needed.
One or two hours per week would be a huge help.
Food is always welcome.
If you, or anyone you know in Santa Clara, can help contact ...

If you would like to direct a donation through our Canada Helps portal use the "Donate Now" button.
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