It’s your birthday, Babalusians.

Three years ago today my good friend Dean Esmay, after having installed the applications and completing the set up, posted the very first entry on Babalú Blog. And three years ago today, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Saying it has been an interesting three years is an incredible understatement. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined just how much this blog would mean to me and how it would be the catalyst for so many emotions – good and bad – as it has been.

And I’ll be honest with you all: there have been days, weeks sometimes, when I’ve just wanted to quit. Forget about the blog and politics and Cuba and everything else and go about living a normal life. You’ll forgive the cliche, but it has been an uphill battle everyday.

But just as I’m thinking about calling it quits, ready to give up amid anger and frustration, Ill get an email from some reader in Omaha or Canton or Seattle or some city in Europe Ive never heard of thanking me for Babalu. Thanking me for helping them understand Cuba a little better or for giving them a little bit of Cuba, a little bit of home, that they live without from so far away.

I never imagined this blog would reach as many as it has. I never imagined this blog would inspire others to join the blogranks and write daily about Cuba. I never imagined Babalú would get the exposure, both local and national, as it has. I never imagined that I would meet so many exceptional people, allies and friends, that I now know I can count on for support, a helping hand, solidarity. And I never imagined Babalú would have so many exceptional readers, supporters, from all over and with such diversity. I am truly humbled and absolutely honored.

I’m pretty proud of the work done on this here humble blog. Proud of the work our contributors do, proud of the blogkids. Proud of our readers who help out by sending links and articles from all over the world and who help spread the word, passing along information about the reality of Cuba to people all over. I’m proud to know that we share a love for this country that has afforded us our freedoms and a love for Cuba, who despite living in shackles, has freedom in her heart.

Im especially proud of the fact that we helped raise money for the Spirit of America, showing our support for our troops in harm’s way, despite the fact that I had to shave my legs to do so. (And yes, I know I still owe someone a leg shave. I havent forgotten.)

Im incredibly proud of how the readers of this modest blog said Presente! and donated thousands of dollars to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina, adding our voice and support and keeping up there with other blogs that have a hundred times our numbers. Being number 16 on that list out of thousands of blogs is a testament to your humanity, love and charity. I am immensely proud of your efforts and your sacrifice.

But today, this third year blogiversary of Babalu, I dont want you all to sing Happy Birthday or send congratulations or what not. No.

Today I need your prayers.

My best friend and his wife just had their third beautiful Cubanita over the weekend. Her name is Tatiana and she is blessed with having been born to the world’s best parents. She was released from the hospital on Monday morning only to have to return to the emergency room Monday night with signs of severe neonatal jaundice. Please keep her in your thoughts and pray for her recovery. That’s all Babalú wants for this 3rd birthday. The world needs another healthy, loving, beautiful and vibrant Cubanita.

God bless and keep you and thank you for your prayers.

22 thoughts on “It’s your birthday, Babalusians.”

  1. Congratulations, Val, and thank you for inspiring me in many ways. Because of you and the others here, I have reconnected with my Cuba in ways I never expected. Keep up the great work.

    I pray for your friends and their little girl.

  2. Hey Val…one of my friends both of her kids had neonatal jaundice – I just don’t know how severe it was. In any case they kept them for about a week or two in this type of incubator and they were fine after that. Will keep Tatiana in prayers, and tell your friends to keep faith.

  3. Thank you Val for not only spreading the word, but for inspiring us blogkids. Congratulations!

    Will keep Tatiana in my prayers for a speedy recovery.

  4. Prayers are on the way – and yes, FELICIDADES is also in order and appropriate. Please keep on truckin’ – a few good millions need Babalu and the web of connections it has inspired.

  5. Thank you for being here and for your (and your contributors’) hard work. You’re the first thing I read in the morning with my cafe con leche. My prayers are with the little girl, the Cuban people, and this blog that has done so much to educate people on the grim reality of Cuba.

  6. From an hermano de alma Happy Birthday! I am not you blogchild, just the crazy old coot of an uncle…

  7. Happy Birthday Babalu! Congratulations Val and thanks for sticking it out, your writing is a priceless gift. I’m praying for Tatiana and her family.

  8. Bravo to Val and all the contributing writers on this third anniversary of the most intelligent blog about Cuba. It has certainly enabled me to learn and appreciate more about the Cuban people and the Island. I wish you all the very best and baby Tatiana is in my prayers.

  9. Feliz cumpliaños, you wish is taken to heart. The lil one shall be in mine and missus prayers.


  10. Like that Cuban that I am, I see that I am late to this party. Congratulations on your anniversary. Gracias por el empujon que de vez en cuando nos da a todos tus hijos blogeros.

  11. Val,
    Enjoy reading and participating. I hope you realize just how valuable your blog is in setting the record straight for many whose only other outlet for “news” is the MSM. God bless you, your family, your whole crew, the Cuban people and of course, Tatiana.

  12. val-

    our families thoughts and prayers are with tatiana. babies scare the hell out of you sometimes (how can something so little scare you so much or inspire so much love), but you’ll see that they are also fighhters and she’ll pull through this.

    also, congrats on your third anniversary……i dont know how i got to this blog (i started reading before you became famous), but i am glad that i did. In honor of your third anniversary, i finally changed my home page on my browser to congrats again.

    tony v.

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