Of Freebies and Schools / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
Posted on September 13, 2014
14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 12 September 2014 – The school bell
rings and the children enter the classroom followed by their parents.
The first day of classes triggers joy, although a few tears are shed by
some who miss their homes. That's what happened to Carla, who just
started kindergarten at a school in Cerro. The little girl is lucky
because she got a teacher who has taught elementary school for several
years and has mastered the content. "What luck!" some of the little
one's family members think, just before another mother warns them, "But
beware of the teacher, she demands every student bring her a bit of a
snack from home."
On the afternoon of September 1, the first parent meeting took place.
After the introductions and welcoming remarks, the teacher enumerated
everything that the classroom was lacking. "We have to raise money for a
fan," she said, unsmiling. Carla had already suffered from the morning
heat, so her mother gave the 3 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) that was
her daughter's share, so she would have a little breeze while studying.
"We also need to buy a broom and mop for cleaning, three fluorescent
tubes for the lights, and a trash can," said the teaching assistant.
A list of requests and needs added some disinfectant for the bathroom,
"Because we don't want the flu," said the teacher herself. The total
expenditures began to grow, and a lock was added, "So that no one steals
things when there's no one in the school." A father offered some green
paint to paint the blackboard, and another offered to fix the hinges on
the door, which was lopsided. "I recommend that you buy the children's
notebooks on the street because the ones we received to hand out this
year are as thin as onion skin and tear just by using an eraser," the
After the meeting Carla's family calculated some 250 Cuban pesos in
expenses to support the little girl's education, half the monthly salary
of her father, who is a chemical engineer. Then the school principal
came to the meeting and rounded it off with, "If anyone knows a
carpenter and wants to hire him to fix their child's desk, feel free."
Source: Of Freebies and Schools / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez | Translating