Odyssey to Opportunity
ODYSSEY TO OPPORTUNITY
© 2009 Roger R. Fernández
Also by Roger R. Fernández
To my mother
whose vision and personal sacrifice
made this Odyssey possible
My friendship with Roger Fernández dates from the summer of 1987. Since then, we
have shared a frank and open relationship which accounts, in part, for me taking on the
difficult task of writing the foreword to his autobiography.
What follows is, in essence, the story of a life’s struggle. I will not attempt an assessment
of Odyssey to Opportunity. Neither do I wish to expound on the message the book aims
to convey. I have reserved these lines to express my admiration for the writer and the
course of his life and professional career. The tale I shall allow to speak for itself.
As the chronicle begins, the Spanish Civil War is nearing its climax. From that moment,
Roger is caught up in the turbulence of the times. From tending flock in his native region
of El Bierzo, he goes on to teach in South Africa, translate for the Cuban State Press
Agency in Havana, and travel extensively through Europe and America. Finally, his
career culminates in being elected head of the Department of Foreign Languages and
Humanities of Los Angeles City College.
Each of these experiences have contributed to shaping the character, understanding, and
humor of a remarkable man. As director of the Los Angeles Community College
District’s International program in Salamanca, Spain, Roger has shown sympathy and
tolerance for his students. In the anecdotes related here, the reader will sense the writer’s
passion, gusto, and love of life.
Roger’s Odyssey reflects his personal striving to share in the opportunities present for all
in America, but which for many, prove unattainable. This autobiography represents his
commitment to the ideals which have given shape and meaning to his life, and, as such,
offer an example of a life well lived. This is what makes Odyssey a story worth
reading—and worth remembering.