Tours and Activities:
Che’s House in Alta GraciaMónica PonsEduardo Epifanio
Photographs, manuscripts, part of the daily life are part of the background displayed in one of the houses where Che lived. Now, it has turned into a museum thus reviving this popular character.
Ernesto Che Guevara's hectic life has always been interesting and in the house where his family lived during his childhood in Alta Gracia we discovered another aspect of his life: his teenage worries.
We started a guided walk from the downtown to the neighborhood called Carlos Pellegrini, passing by Sierras Hotel and several other houses where Che lived. Belén, our guide, gave us family details that became known over the years.
We arrived in Villa Nydia, a simple house with a typical gallery from Córdoba and wide rooms which the Guevara family inhabited for many years. There, the fresh and dry air of Córdoba allowed young Ernesto to get better from his chronic asthma.
The tour around the rooms follows the timeline of his life, highlighting people who made an impact on him and who shaped him as a child.
Luckily for us, the aristocratic Guevara family loved photography and the great number of pictures allows us to see different periods of his life. Family gatherings, meetings with school friends and neighbors, and his adventures on the bike and motorbike were captured.
There are anecdotes from the time when he was sick and could not go to school and all the boys from the neighborhood visited and played with him in his house. He loved reading and there are many letters and documents that showed the sensitivity, generosity and social openness that he expressed from an early age.
After living in Alta Gracia for eleven years, he studied in a high school in Córdoba and later moved to Buenos Aires to start his career at the Medicine school. His personality was forged in that period when he traveled throughout the country on his motorbike, as can be seen in one of the rooms.
When he experienced different settings, his most loved friends appeared. One of them is Alberto Granado and in one corner of the room is the Norton 500 cc motorbike. 'La Poderosa' gave them a ride in search of their dreams in December 1951. We could read a popular phrase by Ernesto: “Wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought”.
Together with his inseparable friend from an early age Carlos "Calica" Ferrer, they traveled around different American countries and shared revealing free and revolutionary thinking based on achieving self-determination for the people. Once married to his travel partner Hilda Gadea, he was given the 'Che' nickname in Guatemala for his Argentinian nationality.
He met Fidel Castro in July, 1955 in Mexico and he registered as a doctor in the guerrilla expedition that would disembark on Cuba to overthrow Fulgencio Batista, something that happened during the first days of 1959.
Once he achieved his Cuban citizenship, he became a civil servant. There are photographs and documents showing that with his example and futuristic mindset he became one of the most appreciated revolutionaries.
The museum saves chronicles of his family life together with his second wife and children and his endless political trips and conferences given as ambassador to Cuba to establish political and commercial bonds. Fidel Castro’s letter in which he resigns from his office is a true reflection of his fearless spirit.
Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez together with Che’s childhood friends visited the house/museum in July 2006, something that Alta Gracia will never forget.
When we were leaving, we thought about the complexity of that little statue which shows him as a child sitting on the front wall of his house with dangling legs facing the street, and about his farewell from Cuba: 'Victory for ever … Fatherland or death'.