Sunday, June 3, 2018


        Orlando Vicente Álvarez

   When we arrived at the Seventh Grade of Secondary, the Cuban Revolution had compulsorily instituted "The School to the Field" which was to spend 45 days, suspended the teaching work, in Agriculture.
     We were simple teenagers from everywhere. They gave us a change of work clothes that included tennis shoes, trousers and a long-sleeved shirt, all of a rough but resistant fabric.
     We girls and boys were most excited. It was the first time that we separated for so long and we freed ourselves from the tutelage of our parents. The enthusiasm was contagious.
   We did not know that we were part of a plan created by Che Guevara to form what he called "the new man": obedient traitor to every order, revolutionary in every way and ideologically formed in Marxism-Leninism. In addition to separating ourselves from the generation and values of our parents, who in their immense majority were traditional bourgeois even if they were peasants of African descent and poor Galicians.
   I remember it was in December. The main time for Catholics and that was already diluting the customs of Christmas and Christmas Eve and the cerebration of a new year.
   All good until then. After the first days of work on a state farm far away from the city so that most of our parents did not come to see us, the hunger began and as we had to pick tomatoes we took a bag of salt to the field and we were fed up with them until we were satiated and lunch time arrives.
   But the big problem was the toilets that they had prepared. They were holes in the concrete with two bricks on each side to put the feet and defecate in crouches. We called them "take aim" because you had to hit the small hole accurately.
    The toilet paper that we brought from home was soon over and we had to use the GRAMMA newspaper that was not lacking. But you had to moisten it a bit earlier because it scraped the rear and then we left with the ass inked black. The holes had no wall in front so everyone who passed saw us in that very private act. The same would be with girls.
   In the afternoon bath time was an agony because we had to stand in line to load a bucket with cold water - and it was cold in December - and bathe in a row inside four walls. We had to scrub our asses well with washing soap to remove the inking. For boys there were no problems in walking naked. But for the girls I do not know how they managed.
   One morning a large photo of Fidel Castro appeared stuck to the entrance of one of the bathrooms. A whole peace of shit was plastered on his face and no one wanted to get dirty by removing it. There was a tremendous mess, speeches, threats but everyone was in silent. They could not with hundreds of serious teenagers and with their mouths tightly closed.
   That night they gave us fried fish.


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