Jorge Milanes

Woman cleaning in front of her home.  Photo: Caridad
Havana Scene. Photo: Caridad

During the week we don’t have time to think about or to do the housework.

Our time is spent working, so when at last the weekend comes and we’re all at home hoping to rest, it doesn’t work like that: we have to get up early and begin to bustle around as if it were a workday.

In my house, all of us men play an important role.  Beginning early in the morning my brother, my stepfather and I divide up the chores that we are going to do.

Today it was my turn to clean the house, my brother’s turn to cook, my stepfather’s turn to go to market and my mother’s turn to rest, since the poor woman spends all week at these same chores while we are all at work.

I like cleaning the house, although not always; this time the bathroom needed a good cleaning: a little water with detergent, a broom to scrub down the walls and the shower area, a swab for the toilet seat and a little disinfectant so that it gets totally clean.

With great delight I announce to my brother: “I’m dry!” and he answers with a smile, “Me too, but we can get wet.”  In our lingo that means buying a bottle of rum to cheer us up as we work.  “I can’t go,” I tell him, looking down at my wet body so he’ll notice my scanty clothing.

He takes his apron off, picks up the money and heads for the market, “faster than a speeding bullet” to look for our “liquid happiness,” another of our expressions for rum.

I put a little salsa music on to liven up the atmosphere and the day takes on a brighter tone.  When my brother arrives with the bottle, my mother appears and says: “I hope you’ve counted me in as well.”

We answer in chorus: “Of course, the joy is for everyone.”  She goes to look for some small glasses, opens the bottle and pours out a little in the corner to share with the saints.  The rest is for us to divide.

Not all families manage to get along together as ours does.  Machismo is one of the reasons that many men don’t assume the household chores because they consider them women’s work.


Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.

2 thoughts on “A Weekend at Home

  • I’d love to try this up here. Our family also cleans the house,or does the yard work, on Saturday. I’m sure it would go much better if we had some ron to spice up our work. Alas, we can’t get the Havana Club or Metusela up here; only Bacardi (or worse) which, after a few glasses, would make me dirty up the bathroom again. Also, although my youngest daughter (aged 13) would drink some rum, my wife and older daughter (aged 17) are teatotalers.

  • wonderful…you are wise…

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