By Safie

I received a phone call from a friend yesterday, who I hadn’t spoken to in some time.

Her phone call brightened up my day. After the typical questions of “how are you?” and a quick catch up, she began to tell me stories about her little 6-year-old daughter. She proudly told me what happened when she went to pick up the little girl from daycare one day.

From what she told me, when she arrived the girls were playing house and pretending to cook in the “heart” of the daycare center. Meanwhile, the boys were playing at pretending to work different jobs.

My friend became uneasy when describing the scene in detail. She surprisingly tells me: “I told the teacher not to put my daughter in the kitchen cooking. But instead to put her going shopping in the store or working a checkout.”

I didn’t know what to say, because everybody raises their child as they see fit, of course. However, I gave it some further thought. “What will happen to that little girl when she grows up?” If her mother is already instilling in her the value that money to go shopping is what’s most important.

My friend is a Theater graduate, but she’s worked in a beauty salon as a stylist, for many years now. Clearly, this job gives her more money than if she practiced the profession she had studied for. I remember when she used to wear simple clothes, smiling, and making others smile when she used to be a member of the Street Theater troupe. However, her concepts and priorities have changed for some reason. I was thinking about all of this, while listening to her on the other side of the line.

I wondered whether the girl might have a vocation for medicine, law or likes painting or writing. What would her mother’s reaction be when she hears this? Will she support her?

I’m not sure, I only followed the general gist of the conversation with my friend. She ended the story by telling me what happened when they were asked to take in a toy that represents their profession or job in the future. Her little girl took a cash register she had made out of papier-mache. 

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Safie M. Gonzalez

I was born in the 80's. I love nature and animals, as well as my country. I admire the sacrifice of a people. I consider myself a simple and honest person, therefore I detest injustices. I have a taste for the arts in general, but especially for literature, photography, and cinema. I believe in the power of the word and in the ability of the human being to change the world.

6 thoughts on “A Little Cuban Girl and a Chance to Choose

  • Firstly, It is good to know that the university professor has a lot of self-satisfaction in his role and yes, in the societies in which I have spent the majority of my life, social status has significance. But, in Cuba as I outlined, the need to receive sufficient money to survive, is of far greater significance. As I wrote, social status is confined to within la familia.

    Of course Stephen, you are correct when saying that “if she were my daughter I would choose a higher education that translates into social status”, that reflects the Canadian society to which you belong and obviously understand.

    I know particularly well, a 29 year old female Cuban lawyer – like Fidel Castro, a graduate of Havana, she is a member of my family. But, she is recognized within our community for her exceptional beauty, not for any social status. That lack of social status, similarly applies to my wife who has previously declined invitation to teach at university, and other professional members of the family. She also, like the professor, has inner satisfaction from her role and contribution to society.

    The owner of the local paladar whose overseas relatives have ploughed substantial sums into that business which is now in Trip Advisor, has status, as does the local father of two sons who emigrated to Canada, where one of them has received Grammy awards.

    What is recognized in Cuba, is power. Those Party faithful who hold influence and control over the daily lives of others. Members of the State Police – the MININT goons to whom I have referred. The President of the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution on each block. That perhaps could be described as some form of social status.

    Pursuit of the professions has to be for inner satisfaction in Cuba, few are going to care about social status – which is after all, regarded by the Castro regime as bourgeoisie and to be deplored.

    Would I encourage my Cuban God-daughter to pursue a profession? Yes, for the internal satisfaction and the joy that comes from stretching the mind – but, not in anticipation of any social status, she lives in Cuba, not Canada.

    I too rest my case. An interesting discussion!

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