The last time I was in Cuba was almost ten years ago and what I remember from my time there is so different that what I am experiencing now. Ten years ago I saw the Cuba of my dreams. I saw the Cuba that Che gave his life for. I saw the Cuba I read about when I was fourteen, the Cuba that inspired me to believe that another way was possible. Today I see glimpses of that Cuba in the possibility for education, for the access to doctors and in the ability to have a home. But today I am also able to see the complexities of daily life, the frustrations of dreams differed, the harshness of poverty and the necessity of change. What change do I speak of? I am not sure because it is not for me to decide. The change must come from the Cuban people, from their desires, their needs and their way of life. They must be the creators of their own system, a system that will work for their values, their expectations and their hopes.
As the Cuban people walk towards their moment of truth there are many things I hope they do not forget along their journey. Small things I have noticed since I have been here that I think speak volumes to who they are as a people.
Don’t forget to share your rice with your neighbors when you have too much and they have too little.
Don’t forget when your on a crowded bus, the people that have the privilege to be sitting down must continue to offer to hold people’s bags/purses that are in the unlucky position to be standing.
Don’t forget to keep the collective taxis.
Don’t forget there is no need to throw things away …it doesn’t matter how old it is it can always be fixed!
Don’t forget the importance of sending your doctors to countries that are in more need than you.
Don’t forget how to be creative.
Don’t forget that education and health care are a right for all and not a privilege for a few.