By Fabiana del Valle
HAVANA TIMES – It’s 7:30 AM and I was walking down the streets in my town to get to the bank. I guessed the electricity would be back on soon after a long night with a blackout, or maybe the bank would have fuel for their generator to switch on the building and tend to the population’s needs.
After so many fruitless trips, I was ready to wait as long as it would take. Despite my optimism, the silent streets were a bad omen. I sat on a wall in front of the bank, and I could see the sun turning the buildings orange from there.
Other people arrived, asked who was last in line, and said:
“I already asked the guard and he told me that they don’t have fuel for the building’s generator. They asked the government, but they were told there wasn’t any.”
“What do you mean they don’t have any? If there isn’t any, how come they’re still driving everywhere?”
“Let’s see if the electricity comes back on, I couldn’t sleep last night. This is the fourth time I’ve come, and I haven’t been able to get what I needed done.”
It’s 8 AM and we all gather outside the door. The manager comes out sorry and explains the situation to us. There wasn’t any electricity and fuel for the back up generator ran out yesterday. We already knew that. But it did surprise us that the bank had also been offline for three days. The problem had been reported to the provincial office and they still hadn’t had a response.
I started walking home. We walked down the streets like demotivated zombies with their brains fried from thinking too much. What do I feed my children? When will the drugstore get the medicine I need? What do I do tonight when the electricity cuts out and my baby begins to cry?
We were born in a country in mourning. We walk over the scars of its silent avenues, every day at dawn. The daily routine that follows dark nights full of mosquitoes and sweat. Work days where bags under the eyes and sleep deprivation limit our efficiency, while hunger tugs at our insides and our pockets shrink.
This is my island, where there were believers willing to put their lives on the line in trenches for inconceivable causes. God bless those who managed to open their eyes! Others continue to give thanks [to those in power] while hardship engulfs everything around them.
Children experience bleak summers, without candy, toys, hope. They are taught doctrines at school, but this generation doesn’t believe, they have too many tears being held back, too many “I can’ts” from cash-strapped parents.
Young people leave in search of opportunities. Places where the future smells like hope. They carry the burden of fear in their backpacks and the pain of a farewell. Parents are separated from their children, wives from their husbands, friends.
Mothers cry in front of empty cooking pots. Fathers look into their helpless pockets. Grandparents reminisce about better times.
We are a people with withered eyes. There isn’t space for smiles in this landscape with leaks and putrid water, mosquitoes, heat, hunger. Leaders are beefing up their hollow slogans and we, the people who never believed, are still stranded in their lie.
I live in a country that is sinking with no rescue on the horizon. How can I escape?