HAVANA TIMES — Many things can be said about what people eat in Cuba: that overall food is becoming more expensive, despite the fact some prices went down in recent days. The average worker has to work miracles; either by stealing from their workplace or having an extra income so that their loved ones won’t go hungry.
There’s hardly any variety of products, even though we live in a tropical country and therefore our diet is not rich in vegetables or fruits and, what’s worse, almost all products sold by the State and private establishments are sugary flour ones (which is why the Cuban population tends to be overweight).
Even though my story doesn’t have to do with our daily bread, this post is not about the quality of the food we eat or how we manage to make it through the month earning a mere 500 pesos (the average salary of Cubans equaling around 20 usd). I promise to tell you about this on another occasion.
Today, I will only share with you an experience I wish wasn’t real.
Carla is my younger daughter Giselle’s best friend. My little one spends more time with that classmate than with her only sister, for, in addition to being with her the 8 hours she spends at school, after doing her homework, she spends at least one or two more hours playing with her, running around, messing things up or drawing.
The little girl is like another member of our family and she eats with us frequently. On several occasions, she has slept over and has even gone with us for visits outside the city.
Owing to the beautiful friendship the girls have, the two families have had no choice but to establish an intimate relationship as well.
Recently, something very sad happened. It was certainly nothing new and is in fact a recurrent reality for many low-income families.
Carla’s 18-year-old sister arrived at our home looking a bit flustered and asked to speak to me in private.
She said to me: “Rose, my mom wants to know if you’ve already cooked supper and, if things aren’t too tight around here, that you send a bit of what you cooked over, for Carla, who’s starving, and there’s nothing to eat down there.”
“It’s ok, not a problem,” I replied immediately. “Just wait two minutes, I’ll look for a container.”
While doing this, I started thinking: “If I send a bit of food for Carla over, what will her father, mother, and sister, who’s also at school, eat?”
What’s important isn’t what I did or didn’t do, what interests me is that her parents are people who work, like I do, and, if they’re as responsible and self-sacrificing as any Cuban worker is, that shouldn’t happen to them, right?