5 Things you should know (and learn) about Cubans

pic: Roberto F. Campos Menéndez @robertof.camposmenendez

I am aware that writing any post related to Cuba always creates controversy, but that is not going to stop me from doing it. In this case I am simply going to compare my experience of more than seven years living in Havana with my life in Madrid, London and now in Amsterdam.

1) Cubans are DIY experts

Probably you have had many household problems related to electricity or plumbing. Were you able to fix them yourself? or did you have to request the help of a professional? You should know that the vast majority of Cubans are capable of fixing any electrical, mechanical or plumbing problem by themselves and with fewer tools than you can have in your home. We could say that in every Cuban house there is one or more McGyvers.

2) Hours of sunshine

According to meteorological statistics, Cuba has a daily average of 8 hours of sunshine. That equates to almost 3,000 hours of sunshine each year. If you live in the United Kingdom or the Netherlands you should also know that during the winter months the average temperature is always above 20. According to a study carried out by Brigham Young University, the hours of sunshine influences everyone’s mood. (This fact can explain the next point).

3) 24/7 Music and dance

Due to the excellent musical training and also to the weather conditions (which allow Cubans to spend many hours outdoors) music and dance are part of the daily routine of Cubans life. Cuba has one of the top prestigious music schools in the world: the National School of Arts (ENA) is an authentic factory of musical talents. For this reason is not uncommon to walk down Obispo street any morning and see yourself surrounded by people singing, dancing and sharing their happiness with you. Quite a different situation from the one you can find in the surroundings of Canary Wharf in London or Amsterdam Zuid any weekday morning.

4) Cuba is developing its own COVID-19 vaccines

Do you live in the Eurozone? Have you been vaccinated? Probably not. Cuba’s vaccine Soberana02 (Spanish for sovereignty) is currently on phase 3 clinical trial, last test of the vaccine before it’s sent to the national regulatory agency (CECMED) and its involving 44,000 Cubans. The other two candidates are Abdala (the name of a poem written by Cuban revolutionary icon Jose Marti) which has also entered a phase 3 study and Mambisa (referring to Cuban guerrillas who fought against Spain in the late 1800s) which will be administered as a nasal spray.

5) Respect to celebrities

Celebrities tend to live difficult situations when it comes to going out on the street. Also, it is hard for them to maintain their anonymity through the different cities they visit, that is not the case in Havana. Many Cubans have been able to see American actor Robert de Niro walking down Street 23 in Vedado neighborhood on several occasions, also it is not weird to see Spanish journalist Antoni Daimiel at Ray Fernandez’s concerts at Diablo tuntun any Thursday evening. Both always move freely and enjoy anonymity in a city that admires them but also respects them.

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