I have two series of photos ready: Cubans At Play and Cubans At Work so why start with ‘At Play’? Well, there is no official unemployment in Cuba although in the last couple of years a number of people have left their official posts to become self-employed but the vast majority still works in companies run by the government where they get fixed pay based on their degree and nothing else. It doesn’t really matter if they come to work on time, if they are nice to the customers or if they just nod off in the workplace. There is no motivation to work hard. How anything gets done I have no idea!
I must, however, add that those who have started their own business whether running casas particulares (Cuban version of B&B), souvenir shops or restaurants are doing a superb job and earning a decent living. Free market vs. communism 1:0.
Let’s start with ‘At Play’ series then. When travelling around Cuba, you’ll notice people, both adults and children, playing either football or baseball. Baseball is the national sport but few Cubans have the equipment to play it so the sight of children with sticks trying to hit bottle caps is quite normal. Similarly, the footballs they play with tend to be old and deflated. It does not stop them at all. Resourcefulness is the number one Cuban quality and I have been on many occassions impressed with how efficient they are when dealing with lack of products required.
Two other games that are very popular with adults are dominoes and chess. Every evening you can hear the adults arguing about their games as they sit on their verandas with their friends. Once again I have to mention this community spirit in the air. Children, on the other hand, when not chasing a ball play marbles.