A Saturday to Go Out and Celebrate in Havana?

By Nike

HAVANA TIMES – This Saturday, I decided to go for a walk around my town to get out of my routine of home-work-home, and to disconnect a little by watching the sea. I went to pick up my sister first.

I was surprised to see so many people out on the street. It’s incredible that despite what we’re having to go through, Cubans continue to take Saturday as a day off, it’s always been a day for us to meet with family and friends.

We reached the sea, and there were lots of families swimming and enjoying the only free thing we Cubans have: the island’s nature and sea. We saw a parked car with a couple getting lovey-dovey, lots of young couples with their cellphones because they think there’s a better Internet signal in front of the sea.

Yoruba worshippers with their drums and songs asking Yemaya the goddess of the sea for great health and to protect them so they can continue to live on this Earth, that has apparently been abandoned by God.

On our way, we passed by a bakery called Silvain a chain which the Government had opened up in every Havana municipality, back in the 2000s. They are all closed at the moment, but they’d done this one up and rented it out to a private business. We went in and they had a variety of breadsticks, crackers and cakes, all quite expensive for most Cubans. They also have products from dollar stores, which are then resold there, like beer, sodas and sweets for kids.  

We carried on walking and went into a privately-owned store selling cold cuts, which caught my attention because Cubans insist on calling them Charcuterias, like they do in Spain. Everything is quite expensive; a 400 gram packet of chicken liver was selling for 1050 pesos (around half a monthly minimum wage). White cheese was selling for 400 pesos per pound, and we put our money together and bought a pound. The sales assistant was very friendly.

We reached the park, lots of families were with their small children, couples and friends… but what were they celebrating? I think and remember that Tuesday is February 14th. Valentine’s Day!! People have decided to celebrate it on the Saturday before.

Love and peace was everywhere in my town that Saturday. Wouldn’t it be great if we could save this island from its misfortune with love.

I for one will give it a shot.

Read more from Nike’s diary here.



Nike

I was born in Havana, Cuba. All my life I have had the sea as a landscape. I like being close to it, feeling its breeze, its smell, as well as swimming and enjoying the wonders it gives us. Thanks to the manual skill that I inherited from my parents, I have been able to live off crafts. I work primarily papier-mâché, making puppets for children. I write for Havana Times for the possibility of sharing with the world the life of my country and my people.