My work colleague came in today somewhat nervous, jittery and with half her face swollen.She’d been complaining about her wisdom tooth causing her a lot of pain for days, and she couldn’t bear it any longer, so she decided to go to the dentist today to get it taken out.
A few days ago, long lines peaked at bodega ration stores and markets in my neighborhood. This is because products are being sold outside the ration booklet and in regular Cuban pesos. People are trying to satisfy a need that has yet to come.
A retail merchant conveniently stands a few meters away from the bus’ official stop, with sacks full of merchandise and gestures to the bus driver with a note in hand.
What will happen to us and the country if every document the population needs at state institutions continues to be insufficiently provided?
“They’ve given my life happiness. If it wasn’t for them, I would be out on the street selling for a couple of miserable pesos and without any time to dedicate to my decimas (ten-line verses),” Jose Ramon tells me, a friend I met a couple of years ago at a book club.
New Year celebrations include roasted pork, pork scratchings, beans and rice, cassava, fried plantain, seasonal salad, syrupy desserts and other dishes typical of each region. Music is something else these celebrations can’t go without, where even neighbors come over for a dance, waiting for midnight.
“A few days ago, I went to a tire repair shop in Kendal, where quite a few Cubans work, to change the tires on my car,” Harold tells me, a great friend of mine who is living in the United States and is back in Cuba on holiday.
In the ‘70s, the Cuban government made the decision to build multi-family residential dwellings in the town of Alamar, to the east of Havana, in response to the capital’s serious housing shortage. During that long-term building project, and in order to satisfy some of the new residents’ spiritual needs, a budget was allocated to build leisure and cultural centers.
Ernestico is a 14-year-old boy, he’s very expressive and studies hard. We care a great deal for him at home. Whenever he can, when he comes home from school in the afternoon, he changes his clothes and visits our apartment to tell us, among other things, about how things are going at school and about the small family he still has here in Cuba.
A few years ago, you could see people playing bottle caps secretly on certain streets in Havana. Like every game of chance in Cuba, it is illegal and involves three bottle caps on top of a board and a small ball, which a person passes from one cap to another with a lot of skill and dexterity.