Poor perspective


‘The poor wash disposable nappies’, she tells me sadly as we sit on her sofa in the afternoon. The chairs are sticky with years and years of grime. They are waxy to the touch, the soft patterned fabric worn smooth and stained brown in colour. Every time I sit on them I feel the need to clean my hands and change my clothes. They smell of oil, fat and sweat all mushed in over many, many years. Her kitchen and bathroom are crawling with cockroaches. They live in the dark of her food cupboards. In with the pots and pans. They live in the oven where her egg pan lives full of oil to reuse later in the day. Sometimes after I’ve made eggs and coffee for breakfast I can feel them inside my clothes, crawling up my legs. I find them crawling over our toothbrushes in the bathroom if I forget to put them away. It’s dark in this house too. It was a collective house before the war and the floor she lives on used to be the kitchen (there was no cooking in the bedrooms), the next house along is where the games would have been. People socialised in this area and the keeper of the house cooked and maintained everything. It then became men’s only housing and finally, post war was divided up into housing. The problem is that some parts lack windows and are very dark. The rooms upstairs are tiny, with little ladders that lead to a platform for sleeping that has a very low ceiling. Kitchen have been installed with the little one ring electric hobs they all use. She contInues her conversation about my pampers, ‘They wash them and reuse them’, she goes on.

I think of my cousin in Camaguey who has been taking my pampers every morning and washing them. Carefully rinsing out the urine and hanging them to dry on the line. She will use them over muslins to act as a waterproof barrier to stop the urine leaking onto bedding and clothes. She says she is saving them up for when she gets pregnant again. I wonder if she might sell them.
A neighbour and good friend to me has just had a new baby girl, she has been boiling muslin clothes, which she secures with pins. She then lays an extra muslin on the cot to protect it from any leaks. Once babies reach four months old they stop wearing nappies (except at night) and start in pants, which are rinsed out. These people who have been washing out my nappies are horrified when I talk about the cockroaches in our Havanan house. They load me up with cloro, special creams in pots and strict cleaning instructions for their demise. They shake their heads disgusted and saddened by how others live. They can’t understand why someone would live in such squalor.

clippedwingsflying

‘The poor wash disposable nappies’, she tells me sadly as we sit on her sofa in the afternoon. The chairs are sticky with years and years of grime. They are waxy to the touch, the soft patterned fabric worn smooth and stained brown in colour. Every time I sit on them I feel the need to clean my hands and change my clothes. They smell of oil, fat and sweat all mushed in over many, many years. Her kitchen and bathroom are crawling with cockroaches. They live in the dark of her food cupboards. In with the pots and pans. They live in the oven where her egg pan lives full of oil to reuse later in the day. Sometimes after I’ve made eggs and coffee for breakfast I can feel them inside my clothes, crawling up my legs. I find them crawling over our toothbrushes in the bathroom if…

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Filed under Cuba, EDUCATION, ENGLISH, España, HUMAN HEALTH, México, NADA, Podemos, PSICOLOGÍA, Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez, Silvio Rodriguez, USA, Venezuela

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