Today’s Prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
9 years ago I met a neighbor, lets call her Mrs. P, a childless widow, who in her 80’s had a fall and ended up needing help. It didn’t take much so I offered to run errands and help with her grocery shopping. In return, what I got was a surprise beyond expectation ~ invitations to tea and listening to history told, 1st hand.
She literally brought me through a time tunnel & told me stories of her childhood, her career during the WWII, her marriage and how, with her husband, they fled their homeland, leaving behind family and assets, knowing they might never see them again. She handed me photos, names and addresses, in case, just in case one day not just the windows but doors open and I can legally visit the long isolated island of CUBA.
Before the Batista – Castro switch of dictatorships began in 1959, Cuba was abuzz with life, music, high fashion, superb food in paladares (family owned restaurants) and of course the Cuban cigars. Mrs. P wore off-shoulder dresses with loop earrings dining under las palmas. They listened and dance to zapatoe and conga … imagine Gloria Estafan (a Cuban) belting out to the beat (… ah, yes, I would get up and move my creaking hips to the beat too!)
They ate real Cuban food and it’s hard to find authentic paladares in Miami (Little Cuba) to go to for that. Claiming to have tasted real Cuban food can be like claiming to have eaten real Chinese food from Chinese takeaways in the US. But Mrs. P treated me to a variety of the real stuff (so that I would know it when I taste it) and my favorite is the simple paupers’ black bean soup.
The real magnetic pull of Cuba, for me, is to visit her organic permaculture villages. Cuba had no choice but to revert to composting and recycling when the US trade embargo was ongoing and the Soviet Union collapsed. Their supplies were cut off – no fuel, no fertilizers, no food import. Every family had to learn to use every square foot of soil available to grow some form of edible green. They all became guajiros (peasant farmers). Cuba turned into a mega self sufficient eco nation while I, on my nano plot, am still a novice, hungry for information.
I’m watching closely, very closely. When Cuba is allowed to receive US tourists, the day I take my first step on suelo Cubano (Cuban soil) will be the day that a dream which began 8 years ago, is coming true. (I Dreamed a Dream in time gone by.. ♬ ) I owe it all to Mrs. P who implanted a figment that is about to become reality. In my backpack will be pieces of paper, some handwritten over half a century ago, being brought back to their roots. There will be people to look for and photos to hand over.
Note: With our passports, hubby and I actually can visit Cuba by 1st going to a 3rd country then flying in to Havana, but we want to do it with a clear conscience and respect to US law. The US has allowed us to own land, get jobs and literally build a good lifestyle; doing things legally is our gratitude in kind. The recent most positive talks on lifting the trade embargo and revival of diplomatic relations is to me ‘a key in the keyhole’; the next step will a long awaited turning point.