By Zach, Cuba Global Volunteer.
After several days in Cuba, I’ve been trying to think of one word to summarize the Cuban people. Some might say they are lively, innovative or humble. While all of these are true, after today I’m going to settle on proud. I don’t mean Cuban people are conceited, but rather, they take pride in what little they do have.
Yesterday we met a local woman who lives near the pottery factory, and she really wanted to show us her home. Now this woman lives in “poverty” – she doesn’t work, and earning enough money for food or clothes is difficult. Her home was mostly a construction zone and the only livable space was a bedroom she shares with her son. Although she didn’t have much, she was so excited to show us what she did have. Whether it’s caring for their cars, creating their art, or playing guitar, the Cuban people are proud of what they do.
Last night, we had a presentation by Pedro, a Cuban English Professor. He talked about Cuban government, some history and Cuban culture. When talking about the Cuban people, he commented that “The pride of the Cuban people may be our downfall but it’s who we are.” While it is easy to cast this pride in a negative light my interactions with the Cuban people I’ve met tell a different story. Cubans have faced many challenges, solved many problems and have learned to survive in an isolated world. Cuban people are proud of these accomplishments and want to be respected for who and what they are… proud.