Trinidad People, Trinidad
Ration books have been in existence in Cuba for over 50 years.Every Cuban,regardless of income is entitled to a monthly ration.At the present time this includes half bottle of cooking oil,7 lbs rice,one sandwich-sized piece of bread per day,plus small quantities of eggs,beans,sugar,chicken or fish and cooking gas.There are also rations available for weddings and birthdays.School children are also allowed a uniform,pencils and notebooks at the start of the school year.
Over the years the size of the rations has been falling,so items such as soap,toothpaste,salt,cigarettes and liquid detergent are no longer available.
I was fortunate enough to be allowed to enter one of the schools in Trinidad.The classroom seemed very small with basic facilities,but all the children were smartly dressed in school uniform.Under the rationing system in Cuba each child is entitled to a uniform,pencils and notebooks at the beginning of the school year. Before saying my farewell i presented the teacher with a packet of pens.
Following the 1959 Revolution,the Castro government nationalized all educational institutions.Expenditure on education continues to receive high priority.
FACTS : In Cuba 10 per cent of its central budget is spent on education.
Strict maximum of 25 children in primary school classes.
Education at every level is free.
Drink the special "aphrodisiac" ;-) cocktail of the region made from lemon juice, honey and Santero Cuban brand rum, in the famous Trinidad bar "La Canchanchara" with live traditional music. It is served cold in a little wooden pot and it's deliciously refreshing! The bar is housed in a mansion that was build in 1723 and still has its original cedar frame roof.
It is a joy to see those young children - leaving school - going home and afterwards playing simple games like baseball and board games.
So not computergames and other modern stuff.
I think they are as happy as during our youth.
Try your hand at pottery making at the Casa del la alfarero's studio.
First you watch the demonstration then you try, it looked great fun.
A tobacco farmer in Cuba - his house - hard working people for the government - but they take their time when necessary to rest in those typical armchairs.
This guy used to study chemical engineering in East Berlin until the fall of the Berlin Wall - was immediately summoned back to Cuba; with no prospects here became a chef's helper
This gentleman is a landmark of Trinidad's centre - usually occupies a left bench in a park in front of the cathedral; I especially adored his paper hat.