Cuba: Who boasts the highest bid?

Cuba: Who boasts the highest bid?
Fecha de publicación: 
1 February 2023
Imagen principal: 

We may find some Cuban parents, in parent-teacher meetings, showing off what they have.

These are meetings that, by the way, may well be named mothers-teachers’ meetings, based on the number of mothers and fathers that usually attend, but that is a different kettle of fish: male-chauvinism.

“The two meetings prior to the Educator's Day were epic,” a young woman whose children attend elementary school tells me, explaining: “I can't tell you about the tense situation generated between those mothers who raise objections to everything and those who want to splash, as if there were no stress in our pockets. I got up and left. I was not going to be part of it, we started at 4 p.m. and by 6 p.m. there was no agreement.”

Another friend complains that her daughter was the only girl who did not take a gift directly to the teacher. In the famous meeting, they agree to fill a bag and deliver to teachers on behalf of all students, without distinction: "Oh, but when the time came, each delivered individuals gifts because some parents did not miss the chance to excel.”

Three cakes, for 1,800 Cuban pesos each, was the solution found in a certain group at a Havana school, so that children could share the cakes with the teacher, since the initial idea was to buy one and have her take it home. But this way, the children would not eat the sweet delight.

Dear reader, if you are in your forties, just like me, tell me: what were ingredients of the cakes at our school parties? Exactly: sponge cake and meringue. Well, welcome to the new reality: even if our salary seems to be not enough. Now we need to have cakes covered with butter cream, mousse or fondant. Are they excessively expensive? It does not matter. That children are most interested in hanging out? It does not matter either. The theme is only one: "we cannot be less."

I do not dare to say that all cases are similar. It is irresponsible to state so without corroborating data, but I have no doubts that a rare elitism is being expressed more and more in the family-school relationship.

People with many real needs invent or allow themselves to invent others, whether it's the most expensive book covers, “gourmet dining” for parties, or renting “VIP lounges” for a sixth-grade graduation, to name a few. And where are the essences? A little over a month ago, we celebrated one of the most important and meaningful traditions in Cuban schools.

However, there are so many classrooms that celebrate with enormous pride the fact of being declared, December 22nd, the first territory in America to be free of illiteracy, which is also a recognition to so many young teachers who turned on the light of learning for all of us, and the Revolution made it possible. Hence, the infinite gratitude to teachers who are facing today shortcomings and difficulties and keep teaching nonetheless. But everything may be vanished amid a nonsense struggle to show who boasts the highest bid, as if this may define who we are.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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