My Life in Havana Used to be Pretty Hectic

Photo: progresoweekly

By Ahmed Hechevarría*  (Progreso Weekly)

HAVANA TIMES – To some extent I can say that before this I was achieving things, goals that I set for myself over the years, such as my financial independence. I had started working in a restaurant, and although it was not much, with my other salary I was planning to do things I was unable to do before with my own earning. But in the middle of this, the restaurant closed.

It was also a difficult time at the University, because I was in the middle of the semester and preparing to teach a new subject, and also working on my Master’s degree. And suddenly everything stopped in the short and medium term. Things that I awaited for a long time, so obviously I felt great frustration.

On a personal level I was starting a relationship with a partner. We had gone out several times, but that has also been left on standby since we live a bit far away from each other. Although, in general, the most drastic change has been in daily routines.

Changes right off the bat

I used to have a pretty hectic life: five hours of sleep, no days off, I worked a lot. All of that changed right off the bat. And at the beginning I told myself that I would take it easy, that I would stay at home, rest. But there comes a time when you want to go back to your previous life, even if it is so intense, because now everything feels stagnant, that you are making no progress at all. In the end, it feels like a step back.

You also learn from everything. I tend to be very possessive of my friends. I always wanted people around, hang out, go out quite often. And this new dynamic has shown me that this is not so essential, that people are there anyway, and that when you need them you just have to call. You can love from a little more distance, from a place of tranquility, understanding.

And despite the fact that this virus is a global problem, for everyone, and that it is a crisis that brought to light structural, economic and social problems that many societies already had, despite all of that, it is incredible how little unity can be found between countries, between regions, between people.

Although there are good examples of help between countries, there is a lot of individuality, competition even for the necessary respirators in the treatment of the disease. The health crisis is global, it is not just a problem for China, or the United States, or Cuba. It is essential that this virus is fought as one by everyone around the globe.

*Amhed Hechevarría, 25, is a professor of Economics at the University of Havana. 

Read more personal experiences from Cuba here.