author photo

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

Grandma’s Lie

January 18, 2013 | Print Print |

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — “Girl, look at me here,” said one older woman to another. “I just came from my granddaughter’s school. The principal had called me urgently because she found out that a methodology commission was coming to visit the place.”

“I’m the salvation of that school,” she continued. “See this?” she said, as she lifted a set of dishes she was holding, “The problem is that they don’t’ have any dishes or glasses to serve visitors there. If it weren’t for me…”

Speaking practically non-stop to the other woman, the grandmother continued: “They’re always calling me from there. If it’s not about them missing a plate, then it’s about them needing a paint for a classroom, or them wanting to throw a party for the teachers, or any other favor you can think of.”

“I’m always at their disposal, because you know my granddaughter isn’t very gifted in her classes, so when things get a little stuck they always give me a nudge. But it would be even worse if she had to repeat the year.”

The woman then stopped talking and said goodbye, as if she had finished venting.

I had been sitting a few feet away and had heard all this in a state of somewhere between discomfort and amazement. I knew exactly what she was talking about because not long ago I had the difficult task of teaching at one of those schools.

It’s striking that at no time has this woman shown any concern about the future of her granddaughter. In this society, there’s a large number of people who prefer to pay or bribe instead of studying, preferring the easy way over having to sacrifice, which is the only thing that guarantees permanence.

This grandmother is paving the way for her granddaughter based on a lie. Within a few years, she or the girl will have to bribe someone to get a decent job. And what’s most worrisome is that there are possibly many employers willing to be bribed.

 


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Does this story surprise anyone who is not blinded by the rhetoric? The truth is, Cuba’s very existence as a nation is predicated on a lie. But for the patronage of the Soviet Union and subsequently Venezuela, Cuba would not exist as a nation. Is it any wonder that after three generations of pretending to be someone you’re not, this national fallacy has filtered down to a little girl in elementary school?

    • Griffin

      I disagree. Without the patronage of the Castro regime by the USSR and subsequently, Venezuela, the Cuban nation would indeed exist, and they would do so as an independent, free and democratic society. The cash flow keeps the dictatorship in power.

      • Moses Patterson

        Hmmm. You’re right. I stand corrected. They would likely be somewhere between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with respect to their economy and certainly a much more popular tourist destination.

        • Griffin

          My estimation is the Cuban economy would be quite wealthy were it not for a half-century of wealth-destroying Marxism. The island has considerable natural resources, fertile land, rich seas and excellent tourist potential. Add to that the intelligent and resourceful Cuban people and the close proximity to the US. The greatest tragedy is the loss of what it could have been if the revolution had established a democracy instead of a dictatorship.