Getting to Work on Time in Cuba

Rosa Martinez

Bus in Guantanamo, Cuba. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Getting to work or school on time is one of the most difficult challenges we ordinary Cubans face, due to the serious complications that exist in public transport across the country (those from Havana will know this better than anybody right now). Nevertheless, us workers go to great lengths and make a lot of effort to do so.

There is nothing more unpleasant than being told off once you’re an adult, like my mother says.

A few days ago, in my quest to get to my new job at the University of Medical Sciences, I woke up a little earlier than I usually do. I made some coffee, it wasn’t very good because it came from the bodega. After the girls and their father had respectively left for school and work, I quickly got ready to leave too.

“Rosita, fill everything up, they’re going to cut the water for three days,” a neighbor shouted to me from her home.

“Oh my god, I have to do this right now?” but I didn’t have any other option but to fill all of the containers we keep for collecting this precious liquid.

Once I had completed my important mission, ready to leave, I hear a voice which has become familiar over the last week.

“Nobody with a fever; there are five of us at home; everybody is OK,” I tell her while walking towards the door.

The girl smiles, she knows that I’m always in a rush.

She says thank you between winking and leaves.

I grab my purse, glasses, the umbrella, and standing in the doorway, while trying to lock up, another inquiring girl turns up, she was wearing a Medical student uniform.

“My friend, let’s see, what are the names of everybody who lives here? How many water tanks do you have? Nobody with fever, skin outbreaks, red eyes?” the pleasant uniformed girl asks me all at once.

“My friend,” I respond in a bad mood, “one of your colleagues just left here asking for the same information, look she’s nearby, you can get all the information you need from her. I’m in a hurry, I’ll get to work late,” I tell her kindly.

“Yes, but we aren’t from the same team. I have to do my job, come on, it’ll be quick, you’ll see.”

I give her all the information she needs. Then I leave quickly.

I have finally left the house! Half a block down, some neighbors ask me to call for an ambulance urgently. Adela, a 70 year old woman, has had diarrhea and is very weak.

My fixed line is the nearest. I have no other choice but to turn around and go make the call, it was a question of humanity.

I make the call, I receive their thanks which I would rather not listen to because I’m in a rush.

I finally get to the bus stop. I wait for almost half an hour. When I finally get onto a bus heading to the north of the city, where my workplace is, I realize that the driver is going along a different route, which will be much longer…

I didn’t need to ask, the driver answered another passenger: today a bike race begins, the center of the city has been closed off, so get comfortable because today we’re going to be traveling for at least half an hour more than we normally do.

Driver, excuse me, I’m going to get off here. Those who saw me get on at the stop before, looked at me intrigued.

I get off the bus, I walk several blocks, and I’m back at home…

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 “Getting to Work on Time in Cuba

  • March 8, 2017 at 9:33 am

    If you are running a business and employ several workers then it is important that your employee’s are able to get to their place of work on time every day. So the Government need’s to ensure that all transport agencies are running an efficient transport system.

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