People with Disabilities Also Like the Beach

Mercedes Gonzalez Amade

Cuban beach. Foto: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — The hot weather we’re having has one daydreaming about the beach the day through. The beaches to the east of Havana are relatively close – for anyone in Havana who enjoys full physical faculties, that is. For disabled persons, however, it as though these beaches were thousands of kilometers away. The main problem is transportation.

After a lot of talking and organizing, we managed to get the People’s Power Council in our municipality (Marianao) to lend us a bus so that those of us with disabilities could take a trip down to these longed-for beaches, at least once in the summer.

The bus was big, but there are many of us. With the difficulties inherent to administering a scarce resource, we distributed the seats among the three associations for people with disabilities that exist in the country: the National Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ANCI), the National Association for the Deaf and People with Hearing Disabilities (ANSOC), and the Cuban Association for People with Physical and Locomotive Disabilities (ACLIFIM).

It was nice to see people have a good time. I felt a bit guilty for not having done more for them as an official at the ACLIFIM municipal head office. The sea does people a whole deal of good. It is even a prescription for some of us, as part of our rehabilitation.

It would be worthwhile to try and organize these trips to the beach at least once a month, to see how a child takes their first steps at age 10 or an amputee goes swimming for the first time after the accident – to see how a blind person sculpts a sand castle next to a deaf person and everyone sings happily together.

This was our one trip to the beach during the summer break. I hope we can do it again soon.

Mercedes González

Mercedes González Amade: I'm 38 years old and physically challenged. I struggle daily in this life be it on crutches or in a wheelchair. I have a 12-year-old son who is my main inspiration and for who I have fought tooth and nail. I hold a position in the governmental institution that serves the handicapped in my part of the capital. In the afternoons I practice tennis well away from where I live. My intention with Havana Times is to help spread the desire to live and to do so with dignity, especially to persons with physical and motor difficulties.

One thought on “People with Disabilities Also Like the Beach

  • September 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    The hearts and minds of many will go out to you in your endeavors. Cuba’s declared support of social programs ought to come to your aid. If Gaviota SA can afford to construct another 14,000 luxury hotel bedrooms in 2015-17, then surely concern for those citizens who are disabled should enable the regime to spare a few pesos for the monthly visits to the beach which you seek. Those same beaches are advertized by the regime on television in Canada and doing so costs money.
    i wish you every success in your endeavors!

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