Thursday, August 30, 2012

From Kerosene to Electricity

From Kerosene to Electricity / Yoani Sanchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sanchez

Fidel shows Cuban women how to use a pressure cooker during the 2005
"Emergy Revolution". Source:

The kitchen no longer smells of kerosene, nor are the walls black with
soot, nor is alcohol needed to "warm up" the stove. The tenement no
longer wakes up with the noise of the air valve stoking the fire, and
the lady's allergies are not set off by the stench of burning. The
little window no longer vents a gray smoke, and the food doesn't have
that faint taste of fuel. She no longer fears falling asleep and having
the flames crawl through the wooden door. Now, no…

Now the problem is the electricity bill. The rice cooker that they gave
out five years ago and that has had to be repaired dozens of time. The
stove that was handed out in those days of the so-called Energy
Revolution which seems to voraciously swallow kilobytes. The Chinese
refrigerator — a replacement given out for the old Frigidaires — which
spends more hours thawing than freezing. In short, now her great concern
arises from the excessive bill with the blue numbers that they slip
under her door.

If, before, she spent her day in search of fuel, now her pension goes to
the high costs of electricity. Using the stove and water heater at least
three times a week, means she now has to allocate 80% of her retirement
to pay for energy. It's gone from one distressing difficulty to another
desperate one. Che changes a ceiling covered in soot for several days a
month with no electricity because she can't pay for it. Before she could
complain, swear, scream at the stove, howl to the four winds because the
damn burner wears her out. Now, no. Because it's all been "the
Comandante's idea," the "Comandante's program."

29 August 2012

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