December 21, 2011
Jorge Milanes Despaigne
HAVANA TIMES, Dec 21— In Cuba it's customary to mop the floors of houses
using a frazada (a medium thick, towel-sized cloth). This is one of the
most common and never-ending duties in Cuban homes, thanks to the dust
that inevitably blows in.
I've seen loose-stringed mops in only a few places here in Cuba (in the
houses of foreign families living here and in the offices of
joint-ventures companies, meaning those that receive some percentage of
their capital from foreign investors).
Fazadas — made out of a fabric that absorbs water well and is easy to
wring out — measures about three feet long foot and foot and a half wide.
During the hard-hitting Special Period crisis of the 1990s, these floor
clothes became very scarce, and those that were available were too
Instead, some people ventured to use old t-shirts on the end of their
mop handle, which is a tool that enables one to clean the house with a
frazada without having to get on their knees, like in the old Cinderella
It turns out that yesterday my neighbor came over to my house worried.
There is a rumor in the street that has her upset. "The frazadas are
going to disappear again," she said. "My sister's father-in-law found
one in a store," she continued, "but it didn't cost the usual 20 pesos –
but 35 pesos now!"
The news had me worried me too. Since if before I had to think twice
about buying a new floor cloth, now it seems I'm going to have to go
back to using my undershirts. Just think, now frazadas are going to be
more expensive than a pack of ground turkey.