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Paciencia Melgar at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Madrid, on the occasion of Women’s Day

published by: – March 9th, 2015

“Each of us must change for the world to change,” said the Equatorial Guinean religious leader, who miraculously survived the epidemic of Ebola in Liberia, and has been the special guest at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Madrid on March 8, International Women’s Day, dear to all. Ambassador Purificacion Angue Ondo presented some gifts to Paciencia in an intimate and emotional ceremony.

On March 8, Women’s Day was also celebrated in an intimate and very special way at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Madrid, capital of the Kingdom of Spain. The delegation organized a ceremony in which women, of course, were the protagonists, but with an intellectual background and truly commendable social work. In fact, the small, but huge star of the day, was the nun Paciencia Melgar, now internationally famous for being one of the few survivors among the religious members who tended the sick from Ebola in the Hospital San José, and that were infected by the terrible disease that has caused thousands of deaths in recent months.

Paciencia Melgar, who is Equatorial Guinean by birth, was brought before the public, and she recalled her birth on the island of Annobon. She recounted how the work performed by the religious members in Equatorial Guinea, especially with women, was what led her to follow the path of her vocation. Small in stature but huge in her words, Melgar also told in detail how the disease spread in the hospital. The suffering of seeing how her religious sisters and the parents fell ill. How she was able to survive in a hell of death, with barely any help or assistance for weeks.

The nun finished her hard story recalling the importance of human solidarity, for the world to move on. “When we see someone suffering in Africa or America, we should feel it as if it were us, because today it is up to others, but tomorrow it will be your turn. Each of us must change in order to change the world,” she said in a speech that moved everyone.

Ambassador Purificacion Angue, in addition to thanking her and appreciating her heroism, delivered a  present on behalf of the entire embassy, to help her follow her journey into the world to do good and help people.

After the speech by Paciencia Melgar, the diplomat gave way to a short lecture featuring two health professionals, Enriqueta Ondo Oyono Ayingono and Bancanca Tabares, who made a summary of the conferences that have been taking pace since last February at the Embassy.

The event was followed by a massive tasting of typical Equatorial Guinean dishes from different ethnic groups, which the Ambassador herself personally presented to the mostly female audience, as is logical, happy to celebrate this emotional day together.

Text and photos: Ines Ortega
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office