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What I learned from the people of Havana Cuba | Adrian Seah

What I learned from the people of Havana Cuba | Adrian Seah | cuba | Scoop.it


You would think that all the years of international isolation, economic sanctions and general hardship would have exacted a devastating toll on the people on the island of Cuba. That they would be angry, hostile and bitter with Americans and the outside world in general, seen as more or less responsible for making life harder than it already is, severely limited purchasing choices for everyday items and inflated prices.

 

You could not be further from the truth.

 

Cubans are an extremely hardy bunch, and a people determined to make the proverbial lemon aid from the over abundance of lemons being hurled at them. The seem to be to be determined to enjoy life, and make do with what they have. In the absence of a proliferation of mobile phones and first world gadgets, the art of conversation is still very much alive in Cuba. Everywhere you look, instead of people intently staring away at their mobile devices, as is common in so much of the rest of the world, people linger, make eye contact, and talk. A lot. Neighbours talking to neighbours, vendors talking to customers, fathers talking to sons, sons talking to uncles, brothers talking to sisters. In short, everyone was talking to everyone else, even to us. Hailing from a country where kids text each other from across the table, I cannot tell you how refreshing this is. Despite our barely functional Spanish language ability, it was still highly fulfilling being a part of so many conversations with so many Cubanos. It shed light on how they live their lives (as best as they can with limited resources), what they thought of the rest of the world (come and see beautiful Cuba!) and their vision of Cuba to come (changes, albeit poco un poco)......


Via Thomas Menk
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CaribbeanReady's curator insight, April 5, 2015 12:19 PM

Despite a few proofreading mishaps in the article, it is a good look into the psyche of the average Cuban.  Forming an opinion of the attitudes of Cuban citizens toward the outside world, including their "oppressors." is tempting to take to the negative.  


It's interesting to understand motivations and drives regarding daily life.  If there were jealousies of what others possess and disdain for what is lacking personally, it would be understandable that a form of hatred would emanate.  There may be a mixed blessing in having less than their more developed national counterparts.  Our youth and society as a whole are being enslaved by electronic devices, while the art of conversation slowly becomes obscure.  The way a Cuban conducts life sounds like a return to yesterday;  a reality that holds appeal.  



CaribbeanReady's curator insight, April 5, 2015 12:23 PM

Despite a few proofreading mishaps in the article, it is a good look into the psyche of the average Cuban.  Forming an opinion of the attitudes of Cuban citizens toward the outside world, including their "oppressors." is tempting to take to the negative.  


It's interesting to understand motivations and drives regarding daily life.  If there were jealousies of what others possess and disdain for what is lacking personally, it would be understandable that a form of hatred would emanate.  There may be a mixed blessing in having less than their more developed national counterparts.  Our youth and society as a whole are being enslaved by electronic devices, while the art of conversation slowly becomes obscure.  The way a Cuban conducts life sounds like a return to yesterday;  a reality that holds appeal.  

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Nightfall in Havana Cuba | Adrian Seah

Nightfall in Havana Cuba | Adrian Seah | cuba | Scoop.it


When the light fades in Havana and the mercury drops a notch, Havana takes on a distinctly different character. The streets, normally so full of people and scorching hot, are now largely empty. The flicker from the television sets in the houses cast a bluish glow on the threadbare curtains on the windows, like a strange deep sea jellyfish. Some streets remain brightly lit, whilst yet many others are now cast into shadow, with dim streetlights spaced well apart. The potholes and puddles in the streets have now disappeared into the darkness, until you inadvertently step into one. The chatter from houses either side of the streets tell of families gathered round dinner tables, television sets and domino games. Brief bouts of laughter punctuate the otherwise still night. The fragrant smell of cigar smoke can also be smelt coming from the windows and balconies of the houses. In the darkness, I still hear bicitaxi (bicycle taxis) riders touting their services, always promising a ‘special price’. Although dark and run down, the streets do not have a threatening air about them, more like someone turned off the lights on Daytime Havana and the volume down to a whisper. Like an unruly child asleep. I love the shadows cast by the disparate light sources at night in the streets of Havana. The already heavily textured walls and buildings of the city take on a new layer of mystery and suspense. Characters casting long shadows on the uneven ground dart and disappear around corners into the pools of darkness, adding to the drama of the scene. In each city that I visit, I make it a point to experience both the daytime atmosphere as well as the ‘night life’ and Havana has certainly not disappointed with her offerings.....


Via Thomas Menk
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