Dogmatic Puntuality

Rosa Martinez

Mother and son. Photo: Ihosvanny

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 12 — It was 5:40 in the morning on Tuesday, October  5.  My neighbor Marbelis had just gotten up and was fixing breakfast for her four-year-old girl.  Normally the mom doesn’t have a bite until after 10:00.

After washing and dressing the girl, the mother always takes the child to daycare and then heads directly to her job.  To be early is a commandment for her.

However, it had been raining for a few days in the eastern part of the country, and that day dawn came in the rain.  It seemed that Marbelis wouldn’t be on time to her job.

“I’m going to be late today,” she said.  “Thank God for the rain we need so badly, but please don’t let it rain at this time in the day,” she thought to herself while looking up at the sky, as if someone were listening to her plea.

At least for today, though, no one heard her.  It rained buckets in this part of the city, and it was impossible for her to leave home until almost 8:00.

The rain had barely let up when my neighbor picked up the girl in her arms, carefully protecting her, and began heading for the daycare center a few blocks from her house.

“Honey, we can’t let the girl in,” said a teacher sitting at the entrance of the facility.  “It’s past eight , and you know that only up to five minutes before the hour can we receive the children.”

“But you know that it was raining since early this morning, so I couldn’t get here earlier,” Marbelis tried to explain.  “Plus I don’t have anyone with whom I can leave my daughter, nor I can I take off from my job,” she continued in a low tone.

“Excuse me, but there’s nothing I can do,” responded the educator in charge of welcoming the children that day.  “We have to make parents respect the schedule,” she added.

Marbelis was not ready to surrender; she explained to the woman that the girl had recently contracted bronchitis and that she still couldn’t go out in the rain.  The mother also said that she knew the importance of respecting the children’s schedule, especially that of getting there on time so as not to interfere with morning gymnastics and other educational activities.  She added that they always got there early and that today they were only 10 minutes late.

Notwithstanding, none of her arguments convinced the teacher in charge.

“I’m sorry, but you can’t leave the girl,” she snapped back categorically.

The mother had no other alternative than to go back home with her child; so that day her second grade students didn’t have classes.



3 thoughts on “Dogmatic Puntuality

  • This is bureaucracy; not socialism.

    In a truly socialist society, daily life ‘details’ such as this conflict would not only come up before the local neighborhood councils for near-immediate resolution; but they would likely also come up before higher bodies, some time or other, in a more general sense: and all open and above-board — and democratically decided.

    Which is not to say that there wouldn’t be more heat than light in the initial stages of the sorting out of conflicting personal interests-vs.-social interests like this… But that’s life, eh?

    Reply
  • This is not possible. There must be a mistake.
    If any of the so called “disident bloggers” were publishing this, they will be caling them names and liars.
    However, it is published ( and toletared) in Havana Times) so, it must be for real.
    Regardless of bureaucracy or socialism or whatever you call it. what exist is a broken down system in which nobody is accountable for their actions and where personal initiative (waving a minor infraction) is aparently punished instead of encouraged.
    It reminds me of the excuses of military accused of murder ” I was only following Orders”

    Reply
  • Oops! A mistake was made. And right at the very beginning! Now I am a tolerant guy, but when I see a mistake, especially an innocent one, I like to see if it can be corrected. So….I am not referring yet to the reported account of an apparently well intentioned mother – who just happened to be a teach too, which my guess was mentioned to drive the reporter’s point home with vigor – and an overly compulsive or even maybe mean-spirited day care worker. I am referring instead to Havana Times! Which I often enjoy even if I think the reporting seems more critical than corrective. But since I am far from perfect, I didn’t mind that right in the title or headline of this story, Havana Times got the spelling of the most important word wrong. A bit of spell checking or Googling would have caught it right away. “Puntuality” could be a cleaver or creative play on words perhaps, but it is not an English word. Punctuality is correct and obviously what the reporter meant to type. I only take the opportunity to point this out to suggest maybe, just maybe the background on this story would be even more enlightening. If all true and if there was no history of this teach being late or having some other conflict with the daycare staff, then still why not look into what caused the alleged bureaucratic behavior. At the very least, let us know if the staff of the two institutions were confronted with the damning facts. Telling us readers of Havana Times about it is interesting, but not very helpful – unless the purpose is to reinforce negative stereotypes about Cuba. Hell, I could write a daily column about the vast number of such incidents in my country. So what? So Rosa Martinez, what happened after this incident came to your notice?

    Reply

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