By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – Cubans always have problems aplenty. When I managed to resolve the mouse issue, our circuit breaker broke.
I fixed the mouse problem by buying a trap. I had no other choice but to go to a carpenter and pay him 200 CUP (8 CUC). It was worth it in the end. I was trapping rodents for three days straight. I filled an old tank that nobody was using with water, and I submerged the cage in it until the mice drowned.
A few days before, I had searched online about how I could get rid of them and none of the suggestions were viable given the situation here in Cuba.
I couldn’t hire a team of pest control experts, I couldn’t find poison X or Y because they don’t exist here, etc. On top of that, I found an article under the heading “Nine compassionate ways to get rid of mice”, or something of the like. The only thing it did was make me feel bad about having drowned them. They’re still living creatures at the end of the day, and I inflicted a painful death on them.
Well anyway, I had got myself out of that tough spot when the electricity cut out at night, as I was getting ready to eat dinner. I thought there wasn’t much point in looking for an electrician at that time to see whether it was a problem in the home. I told myself: “Calm down Pedrito, be calm, because only death has no solution, as your mother would say.”
I decided to report the electricity cut to the Electric Company, figuring it was a wiring problem or something similar. They came around at almost 1 AM and they didn’t do anything. The circuit breaker had burned out.
“We can’t do anything. It’s a not the company’s problem and we’re not authorized to do this kind of work.”
“Can’t you do it privately? I’ll pay you for your work and I won’t say anything.”
“Sorry friend, but we’re not allowed to, plus we don’t even have a wire to fix this.”
They left. I had to sleep without electricity and with the worry of having to fix this problem the next day.
At dawn, I frantically searched for an electrician. They seem to be in shortage in my town. I called Tony, a very helpful neighbor, who is a famous fridge technician, and I asked him for some tools.
None of his screwdrivers fit to try and open up the breaker box. I’m no expert in electrical issues, and I began to stress and worry about losing the little I had in my fridge.
My best friend interrupted his work at the barbers shop to bring me a screwdriver that would fit. When we managed to get the box open, I couldn’t find any thin wires that could replace the burnt-out circuit breaker. Tony found some in his house and brought them over. We managed to solve the problem between the three of us.
If there’s one good thing here in Cuba, it’s that we Cubans are a supportive people. Despite what I recently wrote in an article where I said I wasn’t proud to be a Cuban, we are good people deep down. Tony also lost a whole morning’s worth of work by helping me.
I have electricity for now, but worry still pounds around my mind. This temporary fix hasn’t completely protected me from a short circuit that could damage my electrical appliances or home.
Another circuit breaker would be the best thing, but it’s as hard to find as it is to predict when the long purgatory, we Cubans live in, will end.
You can’t find this device in state-run stores. If you manage to find a reseller selling it, it will cost around 500 CUP (20 dying CUC). I guess that with inflation looming around the corner, the price will quintuple in January.
I try to keep a positive mindset for now, I try to be happy while I wait for the next challenge, because it’s a fact that Cubans always have problems aplenty.