Careful with the spontaneity


At a school in Cerro, several foreign visitors were coming to donate notebooks and pencils. Two days beforehand the teacher sat the hardest working students in the front row and asked them to ask their parents for ornamental plants. The director explained in the morning assembly that while the distinguished guests were with them they couldn’t run during recess nor would they allow the sale of candy near the main entrance.

That Wednesday when the delegation arrived at the educational institution, they served chicken for lunch and the classroom televisions didn’t show the usual Mexican soap operas, only tele-classes. The fifth grade teacher avoided the red lycra she prefers and came dressed in a warm jacket she’d normally wear to weddings or funerals. Even the young student teacher was different in that she didn’t demand that the children, like every other day, give her a share of the snacks they brought from home.

The visit seemed to be going well; the school supplies had been delivered and the modern cars parked outside would soon carry off the smiling group of outsiders. But something unexpected happened: one of the guests broke the predetermined protocol and asked to use the bathroom. The seams of the hasty “cosmetic surgery” that had been applied to the school were evident in that unhealthy space of a few square meters. The months it had gone without cleaning, the clogged sinks, the absence of doors between one stall and another, showed up the farce of normality they’d tried to hard to present.

The spontaneous guest left the bathroom with his face flushed and went without speaking to the exit. After seeing the machinery behind the stage he understood that instead of paper and colored pencils, the next time they should bring disinfectants, cleaning cloths and pay for the services of a plumber.

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20 thoughts on “Careful with the spontaneity

  1. Wow. That is really unfortunate. I’m not entirely sure how to respond to that- only to say that that’s really disgusting. They should put sanitation first, beside education.

  2. The government authorizes the sale of only one uniform per student when the child begins schooling, and more thereafter, but not every year, under the rationing plan.

    Yet at the beginning of the school year, students and parents are told, in no uncertain terms, how grateful they should be to the Revolution for the education they are about to receive. By the way the uniform must be pay with convertible currency, not in Cuban pesos.

  3. We have cases like that in Madagascar. I guess it has to do with the fact of receiving guests well. You clean and fix to look neater. You ask students to be wise and to be participative during classes. And it can go further according to who is going to visit you.

    But that’s not an excuse to do it only prior to a guest visit. A school should stay clean and in order everyday and this goes to the students as well.

  4. It is mandatory for all Cuban children over the age of 12 to remain in the field school for ten months, and allowed to come home only one night per week. Away from all parental supervision the children suffer from venereal disease, as well as teenage pregnancy, which inevitably ends in forced abortion.

  5. Good evening to all of you. If anyone wants to know what Cuba was like before the present monarchy that reings in Cuba you need to go no further than to get or see a copy of Cuba’s phone directory (yellow pages) of the 1950’s. I have a copy that I bought a few years ago and you can not believe what we had going in Cuba. It is sad to see so many people with bussineses and individuals that were making Cuba one of the most productive and modern cities in the world. Now, well now there is NADA.

  6. TO OSOMER:
    I AM WONDER HOW OLD ARE YOU .THE SITUATION FOR CASTRO CAME TO POWER WAS NOT THE CASINOS AND THE AMERICANS THAT BATISTA LET GET IN CUBA. USA, ORDER FULGENCIO BATISTA ON DECEMBER 31ST, 1958 AT 11 PM, HE MUST GO,HIS FAMILY AND CLOSEST FRIENDS AND ARMY PEOPLE , MOST OF THEM CAME IN PIJAMAS BECAUSE USA DID NOT GIVE THEM TIME ENOUGHT TO DRESS, AND BELIEVED ME, I DID NOT READ THIS, AND NOBODY TOLD ME THIS.
    AND IN VARADERO WAS CASINOS TOO, AND IN SANTIAGO WAS CASINOS TOO.
    ANOTHER THING, WE CUBANS HAVE FIDEL CASTRO BECAUSE BATISTA LET HIM OUT OF JAIL INSTEAD OF KILL HIM, BECAUSE BATISTA WAS WHO INTRODUCE THE COMUNIST PARTY IN CUBA , HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT ? SO, USA OWE US , THIS 50 YEARS OF AGONY AND MISERY , AND FREEDOM OF SPEACH AND THE DEAD IN THE STRAIT OF FLORIDA AND THE FIRE SQUADRON , AND PEDRO PAN, AND MEN IN JAIL FOR JUST NOT THINK LIKE THEM .
    YOU OROSMER, I THINK HAVE TO MUCH TO LERN YET.

  7. It is hard to believe that anything could surpass some of the bathrooms of heavily used Pemex stations in Mexico, but I have seen worse in Cuba. one public restroom in a park on a little town square about 60 km from Habana comes to mind. The small town where the sewage goes to a wastewater treatment plant that has not been working since the soviets left was another one. Forget about tourists. If we could smuggle soap, toilet paper and toothpaste into Cuba, enough for everyone, then the dictatorship would collapse

  8. ***
    Cubans deserve a better life. Socialism, communism, and military governments provide a bad life for their “citizens” (aka peons). Zimbabwe and Venezuela are following Cuba into hell.
    ***
    Los Cubanos merescan una vida mejor. Socialismo, communismo, y gobiernos militares provenen una mala vida por sus “cuidanos” (aka peones). Zimbabwe y Venezuela estan seguiendo Cuba al infierno.
    ***

  9. Gjuro

    You point out that Cuba pre-Castro was a military dictatorship.

    Hoy dia, Cuba is still a military dictatorship – albeit a MUCH WORSE one.

    That’s the sad fact about Cuba – we traded in one dictator for another, far worse than the previous one.

    Ever wonder why Castro never shaved his beard? At the very beginning of the revolutionary government – he stated he would shave his beard when he had brought democracy back to Cuba. We’re still waiting on that one.

    I do have hope however. We’re a nation of ingenuity and I do really believe that once democracy arrives in Cuba, and we are are once again sovereign – as opposed to simply being Fidel and Raul’s slaves – we can build that economy back up to what it once was – without the likes of unelected leaders like Fidel Castro and Fulgencio Batista. Once the people have the power to exercise their own will, great things will happen. Of this I am sure.

    One day.

  10. With regard of comparisons, and, I’m talking about those who said that Cuba was or wasn’t, a third world country before the “Robo-lution”, I have several questions:

    1-Supposedly,the “Robo-lution” was made it to improve Cuban’s society?, then, why, now, after 50 years!!!!! somebody can use -as an excuse- ,the comparison with others third world countries that still are suffering the poverty, instead of to compare Cuba with developed countries? Why looks back, 50 years,,why?, What had happened with those long years?

    2-Why Cuba’s “Robo-lution” has been unable to improve, what was supposed to be improved, after 50 years?

    3-Why, after 50 years of “experiments”, the “Robo-lution” has been unable to solve the poverty?

    4-Why after the “Robo-lution” Cuba is poorer than before Castro took over the power?.

    I don’t understand those comparisons, all of then have not a well based analysis , all of them are just supporting how big has been the “Robo-lution’ s failure”!!!!.

    It is incredible, that after 50 years, implementing all kind of experiments, such as: medicals, educational, industrialist, etc, etc,,,,everyone of them have been a total fiasco, and the best answer is the thousands and thousands of Cubans trying to leave Cuba, because after 50 years, the only goal that the “Robo-lution” was able to reach, without any doubts, is “the killing of the Hope”!!!!

    Candido

  11. Whoever will be surprised with it, should be blind, or never felt it in his own skin , because never lived in Cuba !!!!.

    That situation has been a typical and a regular fact during the last 50 years of the Cuba’s “Robo-lution”, that, has been in crescendo , step by step until became a normal style of life, a routine, something that every Cuban had learned to live with it, is part of their daily life, some kind of “agree reflex” that is part of every Cuban soul.

    Candido

  12. The main problem in Cuba is not School conditions, Cubans in general have always succeed in any single way inside or out of the island, is our nature as result of different races mixed and a very enriched culture that make us quite different from the rest of the south america conturies and even Spain.
    the main problem cuba have right know is the freedown to express in a different way how to resold the problems without been condenned for it.
    We can not get stock in pass, Cuban revolution took place because there were conditions created by dictator Batista and he was giving away Habana to the American gangster, you can read that in FBI and CIA old papers , or watch History channel Documentary Habana 1950, it is well documented.
    The problem in Cuba is not the superficial look to the conditions of the bathroom there is more than that and Yoanis want to make her point on Fraudulency, Government masking the reality.
    Also it is well know that Habana it was as well developed as probably US and their money was high valuated, however Habana conditions and glamour was not shared with the rest of the Cubans province, it was easier to take a flight from Camaguey to NY than go to the Habana City.
    Probably this thought of well living in Habana of 1958 comes from a reduce group of Cuban immigrant that lived in Habana and they did not know the reality of the rest of the island , Cuba is not only Habana, there is more.

  13. Maestro,

    The reason she’s pointing out the shocking nature of the scene is because Cuba wasn’t always a third world country. She, like most of us who are Cuban, know what it was once like. Not to say that there weren’t political problems in Cuba pre-1959. There most certainly were. However, at that time, Cuba was a developed, first-world nation with a peso valued above the U.S. dollar and a large and thriving middle class. It’s about perspective.

    Lots of people often say – well, if you’re complaining about Cuba, you should see the REST of the third world. Cuba wasn’t always “third world,” folks. That’s the point these individuals often miss.

  14. Well, there is a Cuban Film that talks about Fraud in the whole extensive significate of the word, main message of this movie, not only copying from a class mate, or stilling the test from the professor deck is a fraud, but also masking the scenario and pretend to be another thing different from reality.
    Movie Name in Spanish is” Como la vida misma” or “as life it self” it was made in 1986 by the teather Group called ” Grupo Escambray”
    Double Moral it become a problem very complexed to understand, one year you watch this person attending to a protesting act in from of the US Office in Habana claiming for the Embargo to end and them the next year this same person is riding a sofisticated ride at Orlando theme park, that happen a lot, I considered a Fraud too.

  15. It does not surprise me, that’s how the system operates.
    The same principle would apply to a foreign visitor in estate hospital.
    I remember about 3/4 years ago a friend o mine accompany a team of US Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in bone deformities. This team of doctors had been invited by one of Fidel’s son to perform corrective surgery, this time they had a chance to see how well their previous patients were doing after several years of surgery. One of the reasons for the visit besides the humanitarian side was to show the team of local doctors their latest techniques used during the surgery. The US doctors filmed all the procedures but the Cubans wanted a copy of the film to show the outside world in their propaganda their advance techniques and make believe these types of surgeries were performed by Cubans and not by Americans.

  16. Once again Yoani shows incredible naivety… Shows are always put on for visitors in schools and workplaces anywhere in the world. This is no surprise.

    With regards to the guest leaving, maybe he should have a look at the school bathroom in some other third world countries…

  17. The Education in Cuba is under the absolute control of the Communist party, and will begin in elementary school with the so-called “Cumulative School File.” It measures “revolutionary integration,” not only of the student but also of his family. This file documents whether or not the child and family participate in mass demonstrations, or whether they belong to a church or religious group. His university options will depend on what that file says. If he does not conform to the regime indoctrination, he will be denied many career possibilities.

  18. Wow, this makes me so sad.. :-( I hate hearing stories about crappy schools. I just wish more teachers and school administrators would understand the value of education & a healthy enviroment- don’t these kids deserve more??

    What really got me was the assistant teacher that demanded the students give her part of their snacks. That is just absolutely deplorable. Horrible. I don’t understand it.

  19. Yoani , again this is a sad sad story. Deceitful cover ups from the get go . The only positive thing is that these visitors , or at least one of them saw the true daily conditions and hopefully will share. On a lighter note , had my fifth grade teacher worn red lycra and was able to make it work I would have insisted on sitting in the front of the class.

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