Monthly Archives: February 2012
I am home now in Canada after spending a couple of weeks on a Cuban Adventure. I learned many things.
I take the simple things for granted. I also take the not so simple things for granted.
And most of all, I am grateful for the sacrifices my grandparents and my parents made so that I could enjoy the simpler life.
Imagine having to grow everything you eat, to sew all of your clothes, to trade for what you do not have, and to only spend what you have for credit is not available. Entering Cuba, I felt like I was going back in time to 1950 where things were simple and controlled due to the lack of things and conveniences we now enjoy.
Like box stores. I only need to go to one store to buy everything I might possibly need. In Cuba, you would go to several to find what I would consider the basics. No fancy processed food found in Cuba, wholesome food for the main part.
Going to the washroom in a clean facility is considered normal, the forest in Cuba is cleaner than most of the public facilities that you pay to use in Havana.
Tourism is big business in Cuba with over a million Canadians going over every year. Tips are mandatory, in some cases, they do not leave until you tip them.
So in Canada, a tip is earned, the washroom in clean and for the most part free, and the convenience of shopping in one spot if you like is available.
And yet there is an unmistakable charm about the Cuban people. They are very proud of the Revolution that set them free from the Americans and the Spaniards. They are very proud of their resilience and the tenacity it takes to survive like our 1950 era in 2012. They are excited about the changes that are occurring within their own culture and really for the same reason my grandparents were excited for–to support the up and coming generations.
They are proud of their families and their children. Education is free so if you want to be a doctor, and you have what it takes, you can do so.
The biggest lesson of all is that those before made sacrifices that most of us are not even aware of. Going to Cuba gives you a glimpse of how they lived, oh how Canada in the fifties might have looked.
When I heard one Cuban say, “We stop when we see a plane in the sky and point out the Iron Bird. It is a dream to be able to fly one day,” I was humbled. For me to fly, I take it for granted. My grandparents did not.
Which leads to me to the point that I do not have the right to play small, I do not have the right to be oblivious to what I am meant to do, I do not have the right to spit on the legacy my forefathers left me, I do not have the right to whine and complain about what I do not have.
I have the right to plan, execute, and make the possibilites a reality. Not just for me, but for the generations to come.
For the average Cuban, possibilites are limited, for now. And they were for our forefathers as well.
For the average Canadian and American, the possibilities are endless.