Sandra ended her high school studies thanks to the pressure of her parents. But that was the limit. She prefered to stay at home, doing domestic work. But during the afternoon, she fixed herself up and sat on the corner, to see if she could get herself a boyfriend with a car.
In high school she cried silently. She felt like she was outside of this world. She never spent time with her girlfriends. She didn’t enjoy her weekends: she didn’t have any shoes or clothes to go out in. Her mother was an educator in a preschool, her father, a guard at a state business. The salaries of both barely provided enough food to eat.
Oftentimes, she felt mean when demanding from her parents what they couldn’t give her. She felt impotent and had a great inferiority complex. A frustration that at moments made her want to end her life, but she lacked the courage.
Between sobs, she asked the saints why she couldn’t be normal and do the same things as the other kids her age: dress fashionably, go to a discotheque and dance freely. A thousand and one times, she cursed the day she was born. She blamed her mother for having brought her into the world only to work, and blamed God for being alive. It was then when she decided not to continue her studies.
She married and went to live with her husband in a nice house. He had a car and bought her everything that she dreamed of. But that hadn’t stopped her from crying every night. In addition to the clothes, shoes, perfumes, she had a damaged retina from the heavy blows her husband gave her one night when he was drunk. Also, she had gonorrhea and syphilis. With everything, she preferred to tolerate the infidelity and maltreatment and even contracting a sexually transmitted disease before returning to her parent’s house.
It is not normal for a young person to be so depressed by not having an attractive and modern wardrobe. And these deficiencies are not convincing reasons to abandon her studies. The problem is more profound. In Cuba, a high professional qualification doesn’t guarantee economic independence for young people when they finish their career.
To that is added another reality. Those who don’t study or work, can have higher purchasing power than a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. Even when both parents are professionals: however much they want it, their earnings don’t permit them to have an adequate life to satisfy all of their family’s needs. And much less to meet the expectations of their children, especially if they are teenagers.
These realities affect the young people. And it is one of the reasons why many Cubans, before becoming a professional, prefer to prostitute themselves or depend on a spouse that mistreats them. All for trivial issues.
Orig date 16 May 09
Translated by Bill Wingrove