Sweaty days are here again, and tough times in the new Cuba

I was cleaning up my old blog site and dusting it down and I found the last unposted blog I wrote before we were publicly attacked and hounded out of the country.  We were stressed and with the feeling that the state and the corrupt people were closing in on us.  Rafa was hardly sleeping and we did not know who to trust with our fears but as usual we were surrounded by a lot of love, just as well when we discovered what was about to happen.

so here is the last blog I didn’t publish, as by then I realised how interested everybody was in me!

 

I have no air con in my car, but at least my car is back on the road so I should be thankful for small mercies.  However most of my journeys are short so I never get to build up enough speed for effective ventilation, and I seem to arrive everywhere red faced and sweaty with my hair looking like a bad 1980s blow dry.  I have also stopped kissing people since I got quite badly splashed with sweat they other day by two overweight and over cooked diplomats, and I fear I could be giving people the same delightful treat.

We have been very busy in the last few weeks.  Our good friend Stephen against all the odds managed to direct and stage a great British play Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall, translated by a friend of ours and performed by some great Cuban actors.  We went to the opening night and I made it to another night with a different caste.  The theatre was full every night.  I felt as though Cuban actors had met with the great tradition of British theatre, all under Stephen’s directing expertise as a Meisner coach.  The money for the play was raised the old fashioned way with a lot of hard work and determination from Stephen and the caste with some help from the film school.

We organised a fundraiser auction of donated art in our house and friends generously donated through the 100 club (100 cucs each), and also got to buy some great art.  A lot of our good friends here in Cuba helped with promotion and their personal generosity was amazing.  Paulo and Nico were outside offering to park and clean cars.  They made 9 and 7 cucs each and I had to admire their resourcefulness although I am not sure how well they cleaned the cars, especially as it was raining!

The play was a headlining event in British Cultural week.  The British Council had helped a lot and brought over a couple of good films but the rest of the British week was a bit of a let down and seemed to be made up of a bunch of Cuban musicians and DJs getting dressed up in comedy Union Jack garb.  Not one British DJ or band or any music from what I could see in the programme that under duress was sent to me by email.  My requests for posters and flyers for the film school was ignored and Rafa never received an invitation to the inauguration of the film week, making the British embassy the only one that fails to invite us.  How uncool!  I live in hope that things may change next year but the British Diplomats always seem a bit out of touch and haughty in that very old fashioned way.

The film school has been going through some hard times and the last few weeks have been very tough for Rafa and the whole family.  Not much sleep and a lot of stress.  The school has lost a large portion of money that was coming from the Cuban state (long story that anybody unfamiliar with the creativity of Cuban funding would never understand) and like the whole of Cuba it has to learn to grow up, and grow up fast. Becoming more sustainable and self sufficient by looking for international money when the world is still gripped by a global crisis, is not easy and in the meantime sacrifices will have to be made.

When the axe will come down it looks as though salaries may have to be cut a long with some of the great projects the school is involved with.    Production and post production services need to be sold internationally if the Cuban state will allow it.  In the area of international workshops there are many plans to expand and grow.  The film school has always been the island on the island, and its chemistry of international and Cuban culture means that it is worth fighting to help the project to survive and keep its philosophy, and not be allowed to fall into mediocrity or be  institutionalised rather than reaching out to the tres mundos.

In the meantime the boys are nearly out of school for the summer and both did fantastically in their yearly reports and evaluations.   We may be a bit poorer but our children are at least a bit smarter! I am planning our trip to UK and France.  Now we are 5 in the family there are not too many places we can stay.  A good friend is lending us her boat in London and we will head down to Devon to stay in my mother’s new holiday pad and then to France to stay with friends in the Dordogne and take in a bit of Paris on the way back.  Looking forward to getting away with the family for the first proper holiday in a long time, we certainly need it!

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