By Safie M. Gonzalez
HAVANA TIMES – I’m writing from somewhere in Havana’s La Lisa municipality, on a street whose number I can’t remember, especially because no street is signposted here. Taking my almost regular route to the main road, I once again verified the presence of a leak that has already become a part of the landscape, not only on this block, but three or four blocks further down too.
Water flows like a river, causing neighbors and passers-by to acrobatically hop from stone to stone so they don’t get their shoes wet.
People living on the block have called the Aguas de la Habana company to report this never-ending leak, because we know just how important it is to save this precious liquid, especially when we have suffered long periods of drought in our country. Every Cuban knows that when there isn’t any water, you can’t cook, you can’t clean, or shower.
An ad on TV reminds us every day about how we shouldn’t waste water; yet, this leak has been there for months, years maybe, becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which then fly around the area transmitting disease.
As a result, I would like to stress that this ineptitude isn’t because we are in a tough spot right now due to COVID-19, but instead because it has never been a priority.
So, does it become a vicious cycle, where we are all accountable? What can you do when the leak has been reported and nobody comes to solve the problem?
I guess all you can do is carry on hopping from stone to stone so you get to your destination safe and dry. Others might prefer to take the longer route around to avoid falling in the dirty water that runs downhill.
For many of us living in this neighborhood, seeing this valuable water – which we need and is so important – go to waste is like a daily slap in the face. For others, it’s nothing more than “the leak on the corner”, where many children make paper boats, and others fish Cuban gambusia.
Every time I pass by, I wonder: why do they keep on preaching about the importance of saving water? If you live, see and get splashed by a situation like this, and you report it, the responsible authority just washes its hands clean of it.