Like Elena Schwolsky, I was a nurse in the broken heart of an American city during the 1980s and 90s and witnessed the effects of HIV and AIDS on the families I cared for and the larger community. Having worked for two years in Brazil, I could also appreciate the challenges she faced entering another culture and learning a new language. So yes, I was drawn to the theme. But reading this very personal and compelling memoir, I kept thinking of a line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day”: Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life? In Waking in Havana, Schwolsky tells us what she has done with hers. Trust me, you will want to find out.
Veneta Masson, RN, MA Author of Clinician’s Guide to the Soul