By Irina Pino
HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s employment situation is difficult. Some retain their jobs, others have had to retire or remain at home, receiving 60% of their salary. It is well known that most private businesses have closed due to the lack of tourism.
Such is the case of my friend Keyli. She was a cook in a hostel. Always in a good mood and bragging about her status. She was doing very well, not even having to take transport as she was working in her neighborhood.
Her son, devoted to the art of tattooing, had lost part of his clientele and returned to his previous job – a stretcher-bearer at Calixto García hospital.
After being unemployed for several months, Keyli is currently cleaning two houses. The pay is 7 CUC, rising to 10 CUC when it includes bathrooms. But as she depends on her employers´ call, sometimes she only does one cleaning a week. (1 CUC is currently worth around 0.60 USD)
However, this job is not enough to make ends meet. Her son’s salary is quite low.
In one of those apartments she met an older man who would flatter her about her attractive figure, great body, and she was very attractive…
She would often listen to his compliments, until one day the guy asked her to have sex in exchange for gifts.
Her first reaction was to send him to hell. She is 37 years old, and he is almost 70, it seemed disgusting to sleep with him.
After analyzing the pros and cons, she realized this relationship would have its advantages. On the other hand, nothing could stop her as she had no stable partner.
She was tired of getting up at dawn on her days off and waiting in line to solve her basic needs. Also, of buying products in the illicit market.
She decided to accept the proposal. It is convenient for both of them, he enjoys her body, and she receives goods. As for her, this isn’t prostitution because there is no money involved.
She tells me he brings home all kinds of provisions, food and fruit, bread, rice, yogurt, tomato sauce, and sometimes beans.
Last night, when I talked to her on whatsapp, she told me: today my house is celebrating. The “Friend who brings” had provided detergent, shampoo and deodorant.
I remember when Keily complained about her partners not helping her solve her problems. Now, having sex with a person she isn’t at all attracted to seems like the most natural thing in the world.