I expected to meet a rough, tall, strong girl. But no, Yassenia Apaceiro, 20, has simple features, a soft voice and very thin. She studied at Eduardo García Lavandero pre-university in Artemisa, and one day in the classroom she heard some members of the Military Committee who went to talk to them about the Female Voluntary Military Service (SMVF).
It was not at that moment when she decided to dress in olive green. “I really paid little attention to them. I had never considered it and it was not what I wanted, ”she says.
A few months later, due to the depression of not obtaining the expected results in the Mathematics entrance test, an aunt told her about the possibilities that girls had when opting for the SMVF and, without hesitation, went to the military sector to find out and know its advantages.
“The call was on August 4, 2017. Upon arrival, imagine! All my classmates were there, wondering if I had gone mad. I was always very spoiled, and that was not what they expected from me, ”she reveals.
The bus left for the military unit. The father cried. The mother supported her. The grandfather acclaimed her because he saw her as the family Celia Sánchez, and that filled him with pride. She only thought about her goal: to enter Havana University.
“The impact of wearing my uniform and getting away from home was hard; I was very shocked. At the beginning we were 18 girls, and only eight finished. The training was in El Castillito military center and they placed me in the school.
There I worked directly with Major Ilde, because I was the only one who had completed grade 12, ”she says quickly and emotionally, as if it had been three days, but nostalgia of knowing a longer stretch makes her break the sharpness of her eyes.
This is how she spent four months traveling from Mariel to Artemisa, and it even made quit "the blonde who seemed weak," as many thought.
“It may sound cliché; however, the Military Service helped me a lot, even to know who my true friends were, as some moved away. And it taught me about respect, discipline and order. ”
Yassenia was determined to fight for a dream. Her goal was greater than to overcome the constant green of the uniform and the odors not so pleasant (that only she felt); Therefore, in one of the pants pockets, she carefully kept a small perfume.
“One day I decided to cut my hair a little, and many asked me if - as in boys - it was a requirement. Not at all! Military women must be perfectly groomed: nails, hair and always use make up, despite spending hours in an infantry camp; that was nice too, ”she says.
Then she moved to the military sector located in the provincial capital, and there began the true final stage and the fight for her goal.
“I have no complaints about that place. The managers always supported me and prioritized my interest in the study. Those are the advantages that they do not explain when they go to the classroom. ”
Now Yassenia is in the second year of her career at the Tourism Faculty in Havana University. She does not regret a second of the lived sacrifice; she believes that both the worst moments and the best and most intense experiences led her to where she is today.
“My hardest moment was the first night when I left home; the happiest, when they gave me my career, and that made me erase tiredness and discomfort, ”she says.
The one who sees her walk along the streets does not imagine that she can handle an AKM weapon and faced her fears in order to fulfilling a dream. Yassenia is an example of an olive-green woman on the inside, of those who don't fall for the first scratch, but fight with their claws to get the stars.
TRANSLATION BY LMMS
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