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

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)……

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