Talk of the Town

Osmel Almaguer

East Havanas Alamar housing projects.  Foto: Caridad
East Havana's Alamar housing projects. Photo: Caridad

“Talk of the Town” is what we call it when people are talking about something of an interesting or controversial nature.  But at my job, they’ve created an activity by that name to encourage young people to interact.

Its aim is to inculcate ethical and aesthetic values, and to create a closer relationship between the participants and the world of books.  It also seeks to develop a sort of reconciliation between the managers -whose prestige is fairly deteriorated- and the participants in the group.

This is to take place monthly, but up to now has only met twice, with me having participated in one session.

Generally I reject everything that smells of politics, but so far the activity has been rather pleasing.  You can feel a good energy and spirit of camaraderie.

In last month’s session, they made me act in a small improvised play.  This was the first time I’d done anything like that in my life – and I loved it.  There were also several participatory games and sections, as well as snacks.  In one exercise we interviewed one of our managers, one who is quite dear to us all.

Though the activity finished pretty late in the evening (because it began at the end of the work day) and we left in the rain, I wasn’t even a little bit sorry.

Each person contributed what they could or what they knew.  The person who writes, read what they’d written; the one who dances, gave a performance; and so on.

The best thing of all is that we created a sense of trust between all of us who day after day walk past each other and greet each other coldly, despite being so close.

This is a beautiful initiative.  Though it has a political basis, it doesn’t stoop to demagoguery or crude manipulation.