Omar is a Cuban who walks from Havana to the sanctuary of El Cobre, in Santiago de Cuba, to fulfill a promise for the health of his son before the Virgin of Charity, the Patroness of Cuba.
He left Havana on January 15, 2022, early in the morning, and has no certain forecast of when he will arrive at the Shrine of the Virgin, his final destination.
This pilgrim travels pushing a white commemorative cart, decorated with images and offerings to the Virgin, the Cuban flag and the name of his son: Lázaro Quintero Bermúdez, sick with cancer.
According to his father, Lázaro has a tumor between his heart and lung. Radiation and chemotherapy have failed to improve his health. “Every day he was getting worse, so I made this promise to Charity, which I am now fulfilling, to help me save my son,” he told a journalist.
Apparently the doctors predicted a year of life at most for Lazaro. However, Omar’s son has managed to live for a decade with his tough disease.
If his journey is successful, Omar will have traveled more than 520 miles to the east of the country to pray for his son’s salvation.
Several Cubans have given coverage on social networks to the hard journey of Omar, who crosses city after city along the Central Highway.
Those who have made their publications on Facebook ask for assistance and support for Omar, who has begun to be called Pagador de Promesas (Payer of Promises), like the popular 1962 Brazilian movie.
In a short time, and thanks to social networks, Omar’s pilgrimage has become a national event. People, moved, approach the road where the man walks to give him encouragement and watch him push his cart.
At the height of the town of Guayos, in Sancti Spíritus, in the center of Cuba, Omar confessed: “the people of Cuba have supported me a lot and that shows the faith they have”.
In addition, he said that they have helped him with food and have also allowed him to bathe in their houses.
Facebook user Giselle Delgado posted photos of Omar on her wall and assured that he is a hypertensive man, but that despite his ailment he is not intimidated.
“Omar is still in Sancti Spíritus municipality, on his way to Ciego de Ávila and walking will take him a couple of days or three, he will go as he has been doing so far, by road. If you can give him anything from the essential food, water, a coat, a blanket, a night in the doorway of your house (his promise does not allow him to sleep in houses or hostels) and to support his tiredness on a mattress in that same doorway, for a warm night, with so much cold that is doing and he barely brings what he wears, give him a hug, give him encouragement,” Delgado wrote on January 30 in his profile.