CUBA: THE THREE KINGS AND THE SPECIAL PERIOD.
The 6th of January was the day of the three wise men. We had 2 children, a girl of 8 years and a boy of 4. They knew the story of the birth of Christ, my daughter for Sunday catechesis and the boy for how I told him.
We were in the middle of the special period. The day was approaching ...
When I was little child I believed in the history of the Kings, inspired by the legend of the Gospels but that the boys believed at the bottom of the letter in a traditional Catholic family and in rest of the people.
In general.I asked for the toys that the Magic king would bring me. It was a great illusion for the children and we waited for the day with joyful hope , all the children of any social class.
I prepared a nest of herbs for the camels-my mother told me that they went under the door-and a glass of water for the Kings after their long journey. I also bought candy that I placed nearby so that the Magi, grateful, would bring me the requested toys.
My older brother stole the candy from the grass under the bed and I cried complaining to my parents about the theft and the sin that he was committing. Later I learned that he already knew the truth but my parents were forbidden to tell me anything about
it.And the day of the Three Magi came. I got up early and went running to the Christmas tree to see the toys they had left for me. What a great joy and excitement to see the toys.
After, all the children went out to the streets showing the toys or the obligatory question was "What did the Magi bring you?It was an unforgettable date for young children, expected all year. Even the poorest families brought the Three Kings something, even a simple ball. A shout of joy ran through the neighborhood and everyone was happy.
Months later while we were walking with a neighbor very close to my mother who had an older niece. I told her about the Magi and she mocked me:
- You do not know that the wise men are your own parents ...
I was paralyzed. Something inside me broke down. Childhood innocence disappeared before this news.It was time to let the imagination fly and see the harsh reality. I guess the same thing happened to everyone in my generation. But the illusion and happiness that gave me those days of the toys brought by the wise men was necessary in our childhood and the passage towards another stage of our life.
That's why I was so grateful to my parents when I was young. That gesture of love that stimulated the magical imagination of children.
Well, following the subject with my two children. We were in the Special Period where hunger and the shortage of articles predominated in every single village home. They opened the Shopping Center where there were many toys but only to raise dollars that few families received from abroad.
I told myself that the Castro could not eliminate the three wise men from my house, to avenge atheist communism even if it was symbolic.We had a few dollars and my wife and I invested in a few toys bought at the mall, depriving us of more important things.
But I remembered the illusion and joy of my childhood. My children will not stay this time with empty hands.The night before the day I placed the toys on the sofa in the living room and my wife and I went to sleep.
When we got up, I urged the children to go to the living room. I had an automatic camera ready. The children, upon discovering the toys, rushed upon them. I shot them a picture.My wife in the last visit she made to Uruguay without telling me anything took the photo in which our children with bright eyes of happiness and joy looked at the camera with the toys in their hands.
I wanted to give them the same illusion that my parents gave me with the story of the Magi. I do not know at what age they knew the truth but I felt satisfied to give him a happy day in the midst of so many restrictions.
The last New Year I spoke with my children and I swear that they remembered that day, although I am already a grandfather, I felt victorious in a battle against Castro's communism and give hope to my children and all the children who still have the magic thought to believe in something superior to ourselves.
Orlando Vicente Álvarez