From the desk of Dr. Gaby Kafie
"my journey into cigars".
I am one of three siblings, the middle in fact. I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Kafie's have been in Honduras since 1901. I have an older brother Dr. Fernando E. Kafie Jr. MD whom is a vascular surgeon, and a younger sister Tiffany Tamara Kafie de Simon. Our father was always extremely strict with us, there was little room for error growing up. My mother as well, always demanded we achieve great things in life through hard work, discipline, and dedication. Our parents were excellent role models, and human beings. They were both great believers in a strong higher education and raising children to be morally and ethically correct. My dad always said, an education is the one thing that cannot be taken from you, he was so right.
At the age of five, with little resources our family immigrated to the United States. My parents did what they could to achieve a better future for all of us. They first came to the United States via an Investors Visa program. We were left behind in Honduras for 6 months until proper documentation allowed my brother and I to travel legally to the United States. Being without them for that long was not easy. They made their move, and we followed them. One thing I admire about our parents is that they insisted on us adapting and assimilating to this new country. They insisted we all master the language, and become part of this nation. I will always be grateful for the sacrifices made by our parents, and the education they provided for us at home and away from home.
My father is no longer with us (Nov. 15, 2001 ✝). He left us far too young, at the age of 62. My mother currently lives inbetween two countries, the United States and Honduras. She goes back and forth, as my sister the youngest of the three siblings, makes her home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She married a physician there of the Simon family, and enjoys living and working in the country of our ancestors. The United States is a country where the impossible is possible. We are blessed to be a part of this great country.
My primary years were spent in Los Angeles, in a suburb know as North Hollywood. Amazing to think that I still remember the street we grew up on .... Whitsett Ave, in North Hollywood. For elementary school I attended J.B. Monlux Elementary, then I went off to Venado Middle School in Irvine, California. I attended Irvine High School for my freshman year. Our parents eventually decided to relocate the family to Dana Point, a small coastal community located near Pacific Coast Highway. I spent my last high school years there. I made many great friends, and was influenced by many great educators that invested alot of time into me.
My older brother was a great influence and role model to me. From a young age he always wanted to be a surgeon. After high school, I stayed close to home for my undergraduate work. I decided to attend the University of California, in Irvine. I majored in Biological Sciences and Pre-med there. Soon after graduation, I was accepted to Barry University in Miami, Florida with a 50% tuition scholarship. The scholarship was based on my academics. I attended Barry University because in the 1990's they were classified as one of the best Universities in the country for Foot and Ankle Surgery and Medicine. I also chose Barry University, as it is a Roman Catholic University, one of the oldest in the South East United States. Our family has been Roman Catholic as far back our family tree can go (1600's).
After graduating from medical school, I did my training in Podiatry, Podiatric Orthopedics, and Surgery. Those were intense years, full of long hours and intense learning. After twelve years of higher education, and over $250,000 dollars invested in a formal education ... it all came down to one thing, passing the Medical Boards. All that schooling truly doesn't mean anything without passing the Medical Boards. I'll never forget that day, the day I passed my boards. You see the year I took the Boards was the first year that the Boards were computerized. Instantly after finishing the examination, the testing center informs you if you pass or fail. A few years back you would have to wait weeks to hear the news in the mail. I passed ! On the way home, I cried tears of joy. The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. After all those years and all the sleepless nights, my dream of being a Sports Medicine Physician had come true. I would be allowed to practice medicine in my dream specialty in the United States.
For nearly 10 years, I enjoyed practicing medicine. My first few years, I worked with some professional sports teams in both the United States and in Central America. Once I got married in 2004, I settled down in Miami Lakes, Florida and started my private practice. I built a practice around visiting Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilites, and doing House Calls, apart from my clinic. I spent alot of time working visiting homeless shelters, A.I.D.S. clinics, and treating the indigent. I was passionate about health care, and equally as passionate about always giving back.
I get asked a lot of questions regarding my title as a doctor. People are always intrigued how a doctor is now in the cigar business. It was not by choice, but I do believe it was my destiny. In the summer of 2007 I developed an ocular disease called Central Serous Chorioretinopathy. This is a disease that affects the eyes (retina). 1 in 10,000 people suffer from this affliction in one eye and is usually acute (quick recovery). In my case the disease developed in both eyes and is chronic (permant vision loss). The initial symptoms arose over night, and escalated to a permenent bilateral ocular disease which continues to affect me.
Apart from medicine, my other great passions in life are big game offshore fishing, and of course cigars. Since the age of 18, I have enjoyed premium cigars. After my departure from practicing medicine, I always had a dream... To bring the finest cigars hand crafted in Honduras to market. You see, my family has a history since 1901 in Central America, and Honduras. My career as a physician may have been interrupted, but my education and training will remain with me forever. It is this same discipline and passion that I apply to the craft of premium boutique cigars. I am passionate about Honduras, the tobacco, and our people. We have put together a great team without limitations. I am extra cautious nowadays with everything I do, I want to make sure that every step I take is a solid one. Always doing what is right for the industry, and always doing what is right for connoisseurs.
Cigars have played a critical role in my entire life. It seems that no matter what I was going through in life, cigars always gave me the ability to disconnect and find peace in that moment. That moment of solitude and reflection. It became clear to me that cigars were a very importart part of my life and my person. Being an extremely competitive and passionate person, I always felt down deep inside, that I had the driving force to create something special. It was in 2013 that I created Kafie 1901 Cigars. A company which would represent our family, our history in Honduras, and me as a person.
My journey in life is just beginning, at the age of 44 years I feel that I have found my second calling. For all those that have supported me all along, I thank you. For all of those that are compassionate about my story, I appreciate you. I am here to do good, and to bring to the world the finest cigars hand crafted in Honduras. I pray to God that he protect us and guide us along this journey that is so near and dear to my heart.