Only three months is not enough Kubinka Yennifer Leon to finish the so-called year avora and, finally, to undergo the rite of initiation into the saints. Only 97 days. She believed in the religion of the Yoruba people and worshipped “arise” Jamie. For nine months she wore only white robes. On her head she wore a turban, which alternated with a wig made of natural long black hair, which she was very proud of. She couldn’t go out at night or in the rain. In a small apartment in Moscow, which over the last six weeks she shared with five neighbours, she set the altar, for whom she tenderly cared. She wanted to return to Cuba in advance to prepare for the ceremony of “touching Jamie”, held traditionally under the sound of drums in the sea.
She loved romantic music. The ringtone on her mobile was the song “Por si volvieras” Spanish singer Pastors Soler. Sometimes she specifically did not take up singing melodies: “Every night in bed waiting for you rose — I didn’t change anything, suddenly you return.” On may 28, she stopped answering calls. She was hospitalized for 23 days, the last of which she spent in a specialized center for the treatment of tuberculosis, in the house with obleplennuyu damp walls and a broken window that is clearly visible in the video that she sent to the newspaper “Pais”. She complained of the cold and the unsanitary conditions.
22 April, 33-year-old Yennifer told the newspaper that arrived in Moscow from Cuba to make purchases. This was the second such trip girls. She first went to Russia a few years ago and was taken to the island three suitcases with t-shirts, underwear, and utensils — exactly 120 kg of goods that Cubans are allowed to be imported to the island. In Cuba, where scarce goods are bought at exorbitant prices, they well earned. As well as 25 thousands of Cubans every year who come to Russia, she came just to buy goods. This business is so developed among Cubans that formed a whole infrastructure: ready apartments, home buyers, transport, paperwork and so on.
But suddenly broke out pandemic. The border was closed. In the capital, imposed a regime of isolation. The city can only move if you have digital passes. Yennifer, like thousands of other Cubans, was in distress. She ran out of money and antiretroviral drugs. Her apartment was infested with cockroaches. She was worried. Unlike many other Cubans who come to Russia to stay (some cheated the mafia, promising to provide them here for work or to transport to Europe), Yennifer sincerely wanted to return to his native island in the Caribbean. According to her, her persistent calls to the Cuban Embassy had no effect. She was afraid of police, afraid to be discriminated against as a transgender, black and HIV infection.
“I can’t do this anymore. On Monday, I will ask to I was discharged,” she says in one of his recent messages from Moscow tuberculosis hospital. A. E. Rabouin. “Oh, happiness! I have made tests and chest x-rays, left to wait results,” she wrote in another message with a variety of emoticons. Her favorite is the smiley with a kiss sweetheart.
May 5, her condition worsened. Then it was waiting for a series of tests of Russian healthcare system. All over the fact that it has ceased to answer calls. Yennifer was placed in the Moscow infectious hospital № 2. The doctors believed that the girl is sick with coronavirus, but tests were negative. On the phone she explained that she was diagnosed with “viral pneumonia”, although the pneumonia seems to be caused by a different virus, not cowed. There she spent 23 days. She didn’t speak Russian and could only communicate through Google translator, according to Anna Voronkova, independent volunteer helping Cubans. “Her case shows that ignorance of language and regulations, failure to sort out the paperwork, takes you right. Especially if we are talking about a transgender woman in a country like Russia,” — said Voronkov, regretting the insufficient assistance of the Cuban Embassy to its citizens in the midst of a pandemic. Thus, if not for the volunteers and community organizations who are in a difficult situation people would not hope in anyone.
She thought that she was discharged on March 22, but instead she was transferred to the hospital named Rabuzin. There she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. In the hospital she stayed for 5 days. When less than a week Voronkov called the hospital, she was told that Yennifer died a few hours ago: the girl was badly affected two-thirds of the lungs.
Her family still hopes to get some information from the Cuban Embassy. “We are depressed, we have nothing to report”, says in a telephone conversation with her mother Carmen Cardenas living in Jovellanos, East of Havana. She was a single mother, and although she has another daughter who she is very helpful, they Yennifer were very close. A woman wants to repatriate the body and things of the daughter, but no one can explain to her how to do it.
According to the hospital, Yennifer died from the cheesy (or tuberculous) pneumonia, a very serious disease. The Protocol says that her people and the people who were with her in close contact should be checked for tuberculosis and, if necessary, pass drug prevention. However nobody began to look infected Cubans, even Cuban Embassy. While the health Department of Moscow says that may not always find cases of foreigners, because they often give a wrong address or do not register at the place of residence. In the end, the foci of infection may not appear on the radar of surveillance.
The hospital, which is considered a good place for patients with tuberculosis is still common among the inhabitants of Russia (in 2019 100 000 inhabitants had 41.2 per case), does not comment on the case, citing medical confidentiality and hospital policy. Hospital A. E. Rabouin specializiruetsya on the treatment of tuberculosis among the homeless, foreigners and people without documents. The office, which was Yennifer also specializiruetsya even on people with HIV. In the hospital still undergoing renovations. In the Department in which lay a woman, the repair has not held.
In the letter of the Moscow Department of health States that “all current repairs to buildings are carried out in accordance with the regulations, the conditions of detention of patients and medical staff are not violated”. They also claim that “the hospital is equipped with all necessary medical supplies and diagnostic equipment”.
Natalia eysmont, a doctor, was fired for loss of confidence of its nacelnika, was our source. We turned for comment to former Deputy head physician of the hospital of medical Department Natalia Eismont, who after his dismissal a year ago a member of the medical Union called the Alliance of doctors associated with the opposition group, Alexei Navalny. But even she explains that the specialists really competent people, and in the treatment of used only the necessary medicines. Nevertheless, the hospital management, from the point of view of the Alliance of doctors, should be subjected to investigation for other reasons. Recently the Alliance of doctors reported the outbreak COVID-19 among the medical staff of the hospital.
“Unfortunately, foreign nationals with HIV rarely receive quality medical care in Russia, where they face significant legal barriers when attempting to get free of expensive drugs”, — says an expert on infectious diseases, “AIDS center” Anton Eremin, who helped Yennifer and others who are in similar situations, receive the necessary antiretroviral drugs. “In addition, poor and with no ties foreigners do not know who to turn to for help, they are unable to communicate because of the language barrier. Many people are afraid to disclose their status because of the stigma that is unfounded fears of HIV infection. In the case of Yennifer, the stigmatization of transgender people also, theoretically, could interfere with getting quality care. Thus, having no legal protection or adequate medical care, these people are admitted at a later stage, when treatment becomes more complex and less efficient,” adds the expert.
Before leaving Yennifer wanted to do in Moscow for two things: she wanted it to be on the red square photo shoot with friends, and buy my mom a hat with earflaps. She joked that the island is too warm for it, but who knows when it is necessary “to keep the head warm”. But make it she did not.