By Pedro P Morejon

Three generations under the same roof.  Photo: desdelabana.net

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban TV broadcasts a show called “Cuando una mujer” (When a Woman). I recently watched an episode. It told the story of a family where three generations live under the same roof, which is very common in Cuba today. The story begins with two couples (an elderly and middle-aged couple) eating lunch.

They are talking about the elderly couple’s granddaughter and the daughter of the adults, who has just finished her University studies. According to the conversation, she is a brilliant young woman and has a good relationship with her boyfriend, who has also just graduated and they know his family. In short, nothing to complain about.

The conversation turns towards her immediate future and they say that she shouldn’t get married for now, at least, as they don’t have the conditions needed to live together. The mother intervenes to say that they have always supported her in everything. At that point, the young woman interrupts the conversation and gives the big and unexpected news that she is in fact going to get married.

Everyone is shocked, but her mother begins to back her up immediately. She says that if “the girl” is going to get married, she can’t sleep in her room because it is small, that some adjustments will need to be made.

The daughter then had a Solomonic idea (that suited her, of course). The grandparents would move to her room and she would move into their room which is more spacious. Naturally, the elderly couple opposed this idea, first arguing that their bedroom furniture set wouldn’t fit in such a small room. The young woman then came up with another solution: the grandparents would move to the garage which “is fine”. It just needed fixing up and cleaning a bit, and then there would be space for everyone.

“If the garage is so nice, why you don’t you move there with your boyfriend?” replied the old man.

“Grandpa, because I’m the one getting married,” the young woman replied, hurt apparently.

A dilemma broke out at that moment and the family tried to find a solution.

The mother, who is the elderly couple’s daughter-in-law, pressured them to give in. On the other hand, they opposed the idea of being moved out of their room.

The father, who is their son, and had seemed to be on neither side up until then, finally intervened, reminding his wife that when they were young, his parents accepted her into their home, treated her like a daughter and raised the girl so they could both work, that these old people had built this home with a lot of sacrifice and so didn’t deserve to be treated in this way just to satisfy the daughter’s expectations and wishes.

Luckily, justice won out and the elderly couple didn’t have to leave their room.

I must admit that my blood was boiling the whole time I watched the mother and the young woman and their attitude, especially when you bear in mind the fact that the house belonged to the grandparents. If she wanted to get married, then she could but then she would have to look for a place to live or go to the home of her boyfriend’s family, not putting anyone out, much less the grandparents who had raised her.

However, beyond the emotions that the story and the end (happy, in my opinion) might have stirred in readers, the show exposes two realities in our country today: The serious and well-known housing problem, where many generations live under the same roof; and the other, which is a lot more serious in my opinion because of the morale it reflects, is the lack of consideration and respect that I’ve seen young people have for the elderly for years now, as well as young people who are not so young anymore.


Pedro Morejón

I am a man who fights for his goals, who assumes the consequences of his actions, who does not stop at obstacles. I could say that adversity has always been an inseparable companion, I have never had anything easy, but in some sense, it has benefited my character. I value what is in disuse, such as honesty, justice, honor. For a long time, I was tied to ideas and false paradigms that suffocated me, but little by little I managed to free myself and grow by myself. Today I am the one who dictates my morale, and I defend my freedom against wind and tide. I also build that freedom by writing, because being a writer defines me.

28 thoughts on “A Sad Story from Cuba with a Somewhat Happy Ending

  • @ Robert
    @Carlyle
    Thanks for the help. I’ve added fishing hooks and line to the list of purchases. Do i need to be careful of bringing too much of one thing? I’d rather choose who gets it rather than possible confiscation by the Aduana. Everything I’ve read says the Govt is happy for you to come if you want to “help and be involved with Cuban people”. Surely these items would fit nicely into this category . . . .?
    Any advice greatly received.

  • Average of 25 cars (including the taxis) per 1,000 people. UK 499 cars par 1,000 people.

  • Essjay – when I go home to Cuba, I habitually take two cases – for the return journey, one fits inside the other. Limit by air is 50 lbs each case or bag. I use the bathroom scales when packing. Don’t take much that is electrical – it may be confiscated by the Aduana (customs). All cases entering Cuba are x-rayed before emerging for the sniffer dogs.
    Do enjoy your visit and the people of Cuba, their music and humour! March is a good month for a visit – not too steamy and no longer cold at night (in January into February it can drop at night to as low as 12C – which if you are in a Casa Particular with slats not windows – is rather cool!

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