Daisy Valera

Photo: Byron Motley

I know that it’s not uncommon for people in other countries around the world to have two or even three jobs.

I know that a lot of them only have time to wash, eat, sleep and begin another day that will be the same as the one before.

I know that in most capitalist countries workers receive only a little more than that needed to maintain their meager existence.

But how is it in Cuba?

How are things in this country where supposedly an attempt has been made for so long to construct socialism?

For me personally, I feel just as screwed over here as they are over there.

I feel completely incapable of keeping this up for the next 32 whole years, when I turn 55.

I hardly need to mention my salary, which isn’t enough to cover a portion of my most basic needs.

It’s common knowledge that many people here have take-home incomes of less than a dollar a day. My wages are 64¢ USD a day (or 8¢ an hour).

I’m exhausted

At 6:30 in the morning I climb up on the bus to go to work and at 6:30 in the evening I finally make it back home.

I spend an average of 12 hours a day out of the house for work.

I spend so much time sitting that sometimes I’m afraid my butt is going to finally stick to the chair, either that or I’ll lose the use of my legs.

I do the work that I’m assigned, and every day I’m less of me and more of an instrument.

I have only two thoughts on my mind:

1 – What can I do to not feel so hungry?

2 – Please let 5:20 hurry up.

The hands of the clock always seem slow to me, and five tablespoons of rice for lunch just aren’t enough.

I get home tired. I think about how I should exercise to combat my sedentary lifestyle, but I’m too tired – and I still have to cook something.

I’ll fix something to eat, and at around 8:00 I’m putting something in my mouth, though by this time I don’t want anything and I feel like I’ve lost a battle.

My rest hours have nearly finished and the only thing I’ve been able to enjoy is talking to Eddy, Irina or Erasmo, nothing else.

At bedtime I have trouble sleeping. I know that tomorrow will be the same. I twist and turn in bed thinking, but I find no escape.

I’ve only been on this job for six months, but I feel like something in me is dying every day.


Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.

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