Dreaming, Pope, We Dream

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

Poster welcoming the Pope transformed.  “The Pope didn’t pass by here”

HAVANA TIMES — Though I was unable to follow Pope Francis’ Sunday mass in Havana on television, I have not stopped thinking about the few pronouncements His Holiness made outside the San Carlos y San Ambrosio convent in Old Havana.

One of these statements had to do with dreams.

Drawing people’s attention to the importance and need of dreams in the world, the Pope reflected on the spirituality they bring all human beings and their living environments.

This way, he called on us to dream at all times, no matter what our ideological inclinations are and in spite of life’s ups and downs.

Recalling his words, I start daydreaming and begin to imagine a different Havana, a gleaming and progressive city.

I picture a Havana that does not “reconstruct” avenues, sidewalks and landmarks in record time to give an important visitor a false image of the city, one that does not put makeup on its most visible structures to keep up appearances.

I imagine a rebellious, clandestine, insurrectionist Havana ready for everything, even drawing people’s attention to its most pitiful areas.

In the midst of these musings, something happens in front of me.

I am walking down a major avenue in Havana, 10 de Octubre, and I see a young couple quickly putting up sings on the facades of buildings and on columns.

I approach them. The signs have to do with the Pope and they seem to be the same banner that has been posted up everywhere to welcome His Holiness…but, no, there’s something different. At the bottom, it reads: “The Pope didn’t go by here.”

The pope mobile on Reina Street.

I think: It’s no joke, it’s true. Francis didn’t go by this area. Something beyond affirming this simple fact must be moving these young couple, so I follow them.

In addition to buildings, they put up their signs at ruins, large garbage heaps and even public signs.

It’s clear: those who planned the Pope’s tour never took him to any of these places.

A sense of happiness invades me.

People still do things that are worthy of respect, outside our dreams.

In the midst of so much fuss surrounding the Pope’s visit, a handful of charitable souls demand that we look beyond the walls embellished with decorations and watered-down paint.

Could it be that my dream of a Havana that does not conceal its scars or despair begins to become a reality, or is this simply the product of my imagination?

It doesn’t matter. I will go on dreaming, regardless.

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One thought on “Dreaming, Pope, We Dream

  • Yanelys has exposed the truth – the Pope only saw a façade.
    Who passed by on the other side of the street?
    The whole charade was a tremendous success for the two successive dictators of the Castro family regime. Private audiences, handshakes, big smiles and invoking a sense of well being in a poverty stricken country.

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