Senior Citizens Honored in Cuba

Photo Feature by Elio Delgado

Cooking workshop.

HAVANA TIMES, October 10 — The earth continues to age, and with it all of humanity. Cuba has carefully taken into account the aging of its population, so much so that this has become a priority in health care projects, adult education and in other fields.

Related to this is the concern that while most family members are involved in work and/or study — due to today’s hectic pace of life — this is creating a situation whereby senior citizens are spending more and more time alone at home.

The Office of the Historian of Old Havana has developed noteworthy projects to incorporate the elderly as useful individuals in society, with one very important initiative being the inclusion of older cabinet makers and carpenters in the construction renovation school. These are trades that have almost disappeared and the young graduates coming out of this school are the same ones who are restoring the physical heritage of Havana.

When we walk through Havana’s historic center, we can see grandparents tending to parks or relaxing in them while waiting for a cultural activity or for their morning exercises. Here one can see a major presence of an active and socially incorporated elderly population.

Embroidery workshop.

In December 1990, the United Nations Organization declared October 1 as International Day of the Elderly, and to mark the occasion the staff of the Cultural Heritage Department of the historian’s office developed a comprehensive program this year that ran from September 20 through October 1.

This celebration period was mainly for enjoyment, and in many cases our seniors themselves were the featured guests and the hosts.

Shown here are some photos of a contest aimed at preserving time-honored culinary traditions in addition to saving recipes that have all but disappeared and still others that have been adapted to make up for shortages in some of their ingredients.

Presiding as jury members on this occasion were Oswualdo Quintana, serving as the “Chef for Havana”; and Cespedes Eliades, acting as the “Chef for the suburb of Marianao.”

Chinatown was added to the competition, where it was represented by the Chinese Art and Tradition Center. This institution offered two exhibits: one of oriental fabrics and other of handcrafted dolls. This craft, in addition to being a form of leisure, is also a source of income for elderly residents in that neighborhood.

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