Rosa Martinez

Niños cubanos.  Photo: Caridad
Niños cubanos. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — My dad would always tell me that, when I was small, I would constantly put him a hard spot with difficult questions at inopportune times, and that, many a time, he didn’t know how to handle these. The worst part is that I wouldn’t leave him alone until he had satisfied my curiosity.

One of the funniest stories I recall was the time I asked him, in front of a neighbor named Margot, why that woman was such a pain. My dad said he wanted to stick his head in the ground and the woman’s eyes were literally coming out of their sockets. On that occasion, he managed to remain calm and replied, with a half-smile: “Love, Margot is an elderly person and she feels tired because of the sacrifices she’s had to make in life, but she’s a very good woman…”

I would enjoy those anecdotes immensely, especially those having to do with sexuality. I laugh just imagining his face reacting to my nonsense. Now, it’s my turn to answer such questions and it’s no longer so funny.

My daughters have long been asking me funny, daring and difficult questions. They’ve put me in a tight spot more than once and I’ve wanted to disappear more than once. A few days ago, they asked me a very good question.

A friend of the family’s bought a kitchen set for the youngest one. The set had two pots and a miniature sample of healthy food that is supposedly available at markets, such as cabbage, tomato, coriander, plantains, lettuce, fish, chicken and lobster.

No sooner had she began playing than Giselle asked me why we had to eat cabbage, lettuce and plantain. I told her in the simplest possible way how important it was to eat vegetables and fruits and keeping a balanced diet. I even told her of the illnesses one can get when one doesn’t eat healthy.

Everything was fine until that point. But things got complicated when she asked me to explain if all those food products were actually so good, why had she never eaten lobster and didn’t even know what it was.

It wasn’t such a difficult task. I only had to tell the girl lobster was a very difficult seafood to catch and that it was an exclusive dish, excessively expensive, which is why very few Cuban families could afford eating it.

The situation would have been easy had she left it at that question, but I knew there would be no end to it.


Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

One thought on “A Child’s Questions in Cuba

  • El viejo dicho es esto, “no hay tal cosa como una pregunta estúpida” buena suerte con sus hijos

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