HAVANA TIMES – In Cuba, there is a very popular saying that says that whoever is born a sardine, never becomes a codfish. This is a very Cuban way (there are many more) to explain the global phenomenon of 90% of people who are born rich end up dying rich and that very few people who are born poor, ever become rich.
The exact same thing practically happens here on the island, although remittances from abroad have contributed to many people, who never had anything, starting up businesses which have become profitable and bring in a lot of revenue, which doesn’t always make them millionaires, but it allows them to have a better quality of life, well above the average Cuban.
Anyway, even though I don’t dream of becoming a millionaire, like nearly everyone else in the world, I have wished that I had financial solvency that allowed me to sleep peacefully at night without having to calculate everything, which is impossible to do with any public sector wage.
So, with this idea in mind, I have been trying to set up a small business that helps to make our household income sustainable.
First, I joined up with a neighbor who prepares croquettes, pastries, mayonnaise, and other products for two cafes nearby. It was fun at the beginning, but then I felt that it was draining me too much, I would finish late at night for a wage that wasn’t that attractive, the same as the one I receive from the university.
Afterwards, I dabbled in selling clothes imported from abroad, but just cheap items like underwear, shorts, t-shirts etc. Two months after I started that business, my customers began to take an interest in other products, which was to be expected, but they hoped that I would sell these and let them pay in multiple installments, but you know what it means to trust someone: problems for the person paying, but even more problems for the collecting person. That definitely didn’t work out either.
Last of all, I got mixed up in something (it’s best I don’t tell you) which was borderline legal, which has gone really well for a cousin of mine but has the disadvantage of needing a large investment at the beginning.
A newbie and with very slim financial means, I had to start by paying 200 CUC, 60 were my own and I borrowed another 140. The first month went great, I made just over 60 CUC profit, which is quite a big deal for me. But, when the second period came, I lost a lot, so much so that I almost lost everything and even though my cousin assures me that won’t happen again (that it’s because I’m only just starting out), I don’t want to take any more risks and less so with borrowed money, so I paid off what I owed and I continue to dream up ways of becoming a codfish…