Maria Matienzo Puerto
HAVANA TIMES, May 3 — With all the taxes we pay, can’t they at least guarantee street lighting? I know this happens in all parts of the world, but since there are no tabloids here, someone has to complain – right?
Let me tell you what happened.
Last night I went to visit a friend who lives near my house. It’s here in the Alamar area, but a few zones further out, where the buses come in.
After we brought each other up to date on our lives (it had been a long time since we had last seen each other), as well as the food and coffee, I finally left that night headed for a bus stop. I had no idea, though, that I would have to wait about two hours for a bus that would take me near my house.
I’m not going to go into the transportation issue here. We all know that it’s a touchy topic in Cuba, especially when we realize that the whole world economic crisis has taken a heavy toll on the vehicular situation in this city, not to mention the island.
What I want to talk about is the sheer fright I experienced when I decided to cross Alamar at 10:30 at night. I’m not used to walking late at night in my neighborhood, but this time I had to, and not without thinking it over beforehand, because the darkness on these streets is terrifying.
Once I stumbled and almost ended up without a big toe. The blame lied in me walking around distracted by a conversation, failing to consider that nonsense like that can sometimes be costly.
In short, this time I was walking alone when I decided I should cross through about ten blocks, between buildings, thickets and woods.
But when I least imagined it, there was a man walking behind me.
At first I thought that it was just another passer-by who was fed up with waiting for a bus that would never come. Still, I quickened my pace since I didn’t like the idea of walking alone in that area with a stranger tailing me. But it didn’t surprise me too much when he too picked up his pace.
Then I began my scheming. I took off my earrings, put my watch in my bag and pulled out my cellphone – all without losing the momentum I had generated, and with my pursuer still behind.
Without losing my cool, I focused on the nearest building and thought it would be a good idea to make it to any apartment there and ask for help. When I got there I found a group of teenagers inside. I told them what was happening but when we all looked out, the man was passing on by at the same speed he had been following me.
The teens walked me as close as they could to my house and I looked up to heaven to express my thanks for all of them. It was then that I noticed the street lamps and I wondered why they weren’t on.
How many of us will have to experience this fright, or how many people will have to be raped for them to turn on at least one bulb on the street.
This is how the whole city is, but in Alamar there have been cases of gangs beating up people, and not even with the aim of robbing them.
Notwithstanding, we remain in the dark.