At a time when Alamar and Havana in general have been placed under a dengue and cholera alert, the Achatina fulica, popularly known as the giant African snail, is once again rearing its tentacles around the neighborhood.
Regina Cano’s Diary
I began wandering around the city asking for favors from friends, who put aside what they were doing to lend me a few hours of work before their computers. At first most said to me: “Of course, girl, come on over, you’ll solve your problems in no time, you’ll see.”
Though not invented in Cuba, plastic is one of those products that are indispensable in the lives of Cubans (as I imagine it is in many other poor countries around the world). Plastic has indeed become a handy tool here to overcome many shortages. Its use is highly varied.
A Cuban friend who lives abroad and came to the island on vacation, eager to go out and enjoy Havana’s night scene, made me discover new places (discos, clubs, bars and cabarets) where people – particularly the young – enjoy themselves.
A friend was telling me that more gay* parties being held in Havana today than before. Are people more tolerant now? Is there more money to be made organizing these parties? Or are people who attend these parties making more money and able to go more often?
“What are they building over there?” he asked, referring to a leveled, arid terrain he made out through the window of the bus we were on. “That’s going to be a District Attorney’s Office or a court” his travel companion replied, “Instead of building a disco or the hospital Alamar needs so much.”
Three people had their hands on my body, ready to hold me down in place and prevent any movement (even though I hadn’t shown the slightest intention of moving). I assure you this rather oppressive picture was not a product of my imagination.
“I’ve given more to the State than the State is giving me at the moment. I’ve worked all of my life. I’m now 83,” another interviewee says. The documentary draws our attention to a social reality we co-exist with but do not know in depth.
Many a time, when I get up in the morning, I don’t need to look at the clock, for, at exactly 7 am every day, a man who sells bread and invariably walks past my house blows a whistle and yells out: “Bread, come get your bread!”
Every year, I ask myself whether there is any truth to the claim that the huge crowds the annual Havana book fair draws are owed to the “keen interest in reading and the eagerness to buy books that characterizes the population.”