A Funny Anecdote Involving a School in Havana

Carlos Fraguela

pañoletaHAVNA TIMES — A neighbor of mine told me her second menstruation caught her by surprise at school, on the day they had an exam and teachers had warned that students would forfeit their right to take this test if they failed to wear their uniform scarves (as many did refuse to wear this symbolic garment the day through).

The first time, it happened at home and it was also a surprise for her. Her mother hadn’t spoken to her about it. She went into the bathroom and, after pulling down her panties, was frightened by the blood stain she saw. The mother was nearby. She heard the girl’s screams, simply approached her, congratulated her for becoming an adult and offered her an explanation that was suited to her age.

The girl was embarrassed when the teacher asked her why she wasn’t wearing her scarf; threatening that she would forfeit the test. She told the teacher she had it but couldn’t say where. Finally, she confessed she had menstruated while at school and had had the idea of using the scarf as a pad, having no other option.

She was taken to the principal’s office so she could explain this disrespectful attitude there.

The school principal couldn’t help but laugh at the girl’s innocence, who didn’t know what to do under pressure from the teacher (who couldn’t understand how she could have used the scarf for that). They explained to the girl they had cotton and other materials at school for such situations.

Ignorance has often made people value material things over the integrity of human beings, plants or animals, many a time. Indoctrination and the exaltation of certain symbols can undermine people’s individuality and faculties.

The world is changing for the better and Cuba is also changing, such that people can learn to overcome all the fears that stand in their way of their realization. Singer Jorge Drexler, in his song about the Moorish Jew, calls flags “sad bits of cloth.” He also says there’s nothing more valuable than life.

One thought on “A Funny Anecdote Involving a School in Havana

  • I’m not Cuban enough to see the connection between the story and the conclusion…

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