We never know what real gold is. Just have a look at Fernando. He is repairing his mother’s old car for the hundredth time: either the oil has flowed, then it has died out in the middle of the road. Fernando knows that in a hundred and first time he will not throw it in a landfill, but will try to repair it again. Because this old family car is as good as gold. After all, here it costs $25k. You are very welcome to Havana. And this is The Life of Others. New York Venice Dubai Jerusalem Tokyo Paris The Life of Others Zhanna Badoeva Earlier, when arriving in Havana, it seemed that time had stopped. There were a lot of retro cars, ancient buildings, and no internet. Recently, the capital began to develop rapidly. And have the life of locals change? We will figure it all out today. If I was born in Cuba, I was born in a family of Jankiz Morales and Janis Estrada. I would get a free education, I would live with my whole family in social housing, and every day before school, I would take my grandmother to a club for pensioners. Or I would be born into the family of Fernando Kusido. And since childhood, I would have loved cars and helped my father in his workshop. Besides, each week-end I would do some shopping at the local bodega. Or I would be born in the family of Alexis Cordero and Maurellis Socarras. I would have inherited my father’s retro car and studied at the same university as Fidel Castro. And deep down I would dream of becoming a salsa teacher. Well, if I were born in Havana, my parents would not pay for it even a penny. Alessandro Lopez, a doctor Medicine in Cube is absolutely free. And no matter if it is childbirth or any kind of treatment, it is all paid by the government. There are no private clinics in Cuba and the quality of medical care is considered to be very high. Many Cuban doctors are being invited to work abroad. On average, doctors earn about $60, and only within some time, their salary can grow up to $84. But this is a standard salary in Havana. Despite the low salaries, the Cubans still have their advantages. Jamilka Hernandez, mom-to-be Recently I started maternity leave but the government will still pay me my salary all next year. And within a year, I will return back to my work, and my kid will go to a kindergarten. Kindergartens here are absolutely free and accept children at the age of 10 months. And there is no other choice. As parents and grandparents usually have to work. There is just nobody to leave your kid with. There are just a few private kindergartens and they cost approximately $100 per month. Only wealthy Cubenes can afford their children to attend them. The same thing is in schools. Marlen Ererra Toralbo, a teacher Private schools are only available at embassies. Children of foreigners or rich people study there, and the remaining 95% attend regular schools. And join the ranks of pioneers. Time passes by. Country leaders have changed. But there are still a lot of pioneers in schools in Havana. Erica Gomez, a pupil I am a pioneer leader. I am responsible for good order and behavior in school. We are all proud of our country and we continue to develop the idea of Fidel. As he is still an example for us to follow. But they are still kids. So Fidel’s ideas are Fidel’s ideas. And playing dolls is according to the schedule. Guys, just tell me, do you usually bring these cute clothes for your dolls as well as dolls by themselves? And that’s the way you are playing during breaks? -Yes, you are right. And do you stop playing after the lesson bell rings? Or is it possible to play at the lesson? Well, we are allowed to play at the lessons as well. Really? Even at the lessons? And we weren’t allowed when I was at school. Teachers asked us to hide all the toys after the break. What time do you come to school? Our lessons start at 7:30 a.m. Helen Dias, a pupil Do you attend any circles after school? Yes, we do. We attend various circles. I go in for swimming. – That’s awesome! I feel like I will go crazy right now. I can’t even hear my voice right now. Let me go right now and check what’s going on in the very school. What a beautiful dress! To learn more about the school in Havana, it’s better to talk with its teacher, especially since she is so bright! In which form are you teaching now? I am a teacher of the fourth form. And what subjects do you teach? I am a universal teacher. I can teach many subjects from Math to Music. Do they collect money from parents for the needs of the school? For some repairments, for painting the furniture in each classroom or for food. No, we never collect any money. The government takes care of it. Unless parents organize a clean-up and clean up on school grounds. Does the school also provide children with a uniform? Parents do not buy it, do they? The uniform is bought by parents. It costs 6 cents. Do teachers wear some kind of uniform? You are such a beautiful woman and you are so openly dressed that it seems that you will now begin to dance. And you are a Math teacher. We don’t have a uniform, but there are a number of rules: no short skirts, deep neckline, or bare hands. Can the headmaster call you up and say, – Merlin, you are dressed too frankly today. Please dress the way that children perceive you as a teacher. Definitely, he can. But there have never been complaints regarding my outfit. Let me remind you, this is a primary school teacher. My teacher, Tamara Ivanovna, was dressing a little bit more deterrence. Does a teacher make good money here? I get 72 dollars I would like more but you can live on this money. Does a teacher conduct here any additional lessons? Well, there’s no need for that as I can explain pupils everything at school already. Earning $70 a month, teachers cannot earn extra money privately. According to the law, they have to choose whether you teach at school or in private, and there is no other way. Right, salaries are low, but even here the government will not leave you in trouble. The Government of Cuba provides all residents with free food, regardless you are a millionaire or a poor as a church mouse. Each resident of Havana, regardless of his income, is assigned to a grocery store, bodega, from the day he was born. Cubans get food in here for a little money. They come here with a little book called the libretto. The seller by himself should mark in it with a pen how many and what goods were issued. No one has canceled the limit. Each Cuban gets each month three kilograms of rice, half a kilo of beans, spaghetti, and coffee, 2 kg sugar and salt, half a liter of soy sauce, 5 eggs, some chicken and fish. Besides, each day we get 80g of bread each day. Anyway, the shelves do not break from an overabundance of food. And you can’t always be able to take everything that is due to you. Whether this set of products is enough or is it an illusion – now we will find out from a local resident. This is this bodega about which I spoke, and this is my friend Fidel. Well, not a friend, let him be just an acquaintance, as we are not friends at all. So tell me, please, do you often take products at this grocery? Fidel Hernandez, a plumber I am here each second day. Because I need to take products for the whole family. Just let me look at it. This is your libretto. It is coupons which every inhabitant of Havana use to get some products for himself. What do you mark in here? Every time I take something in here – I mark it and the seller signs. Do your children have such books? -Yes, they got them from the very birth. Are the prices cheaper here or in a regular store? Here we pay a penny for food and in another store, we would pay a lot more. Do you have any meat or sausages here? There are two types of such stores, with perishable goods and durable goods. Here we have rice, flour, salt, sugar, sunflower oil. And meat can be bought in the other one. All right. Please tell me, is this enough, I mean all the products that you take on these coupons? Sometimes you have to buy something in small things, but without these stores, we would die taking into account our salaries. If the Cuban wants to please himself with something more than chicken and rice, he will have to go to a regular store. But here everything is confused, as there are two currencies in Cuba. Maurelis Sokarras, a financier Cuba has two currencies. Everything was simple before. Peso was for locals, CUC was for tourists. But now, every Cuban can use two currencies.CUC is mainly used in foreign stores, as well as in restaurants, where many tourists come. To be honest, this is a rather confusing system and no one knows why the country still has two currencies,we even can’t explain. So, all the inhabitants buy goods in bodega, and it does not matter whether the poor or the millionaire you are. Carlos Alonso, a restaurant owner In this store, all the products are the same as in any other shop. So rice is the same, chicken and sugar as well. If the state gives it, so you need to take it. This is Carlos; he owns small restaurants in the very center of the capital. A month, his income can reach $ 10,000. This is very good by local standards. How he manages to conduct private business in a country where ten years ago no one did this? Is it difficult to start a private business here? If I were a tailor or a photographer it would be easier. But if there are resources and desire, then everything is possible. It is clear that investments are needed to open such an institution. Do you have to explain where you got that sum of money, or you just can have a lot of money and open a restaurant? Or can anyone do this? Yes, anyone can do it. Oh, I rented a room and the furniture was made by a local carpenter. And where did you buy or order appliances and equipment for the kitchen? You can buy many things in Havana, but not all. For example, I ordered an air conditioner and a refrigerator in Panama. Please tell me if there is a tax on the import of goods in Cuba? For example, you bought a refrigerator in Panama – did you pay for it? The borders were opened and now people began to import various equipment en masse. At the borders, they stand in line for its declaration. Therefore, the state allowed the import of equipment at no more than 1000 points. For example, air conditioning is 250 points, a refrigerator is 350 points. You own not a typical restaurant for Cuba. Tell me do locals come here? They do, but mostly foreigners visit it. I am interested to see the prices. So here it is $13, $11, $8. How often locals can afford to pay that kind of money if he has a salary of 170-220 CUC? Our prices are average. And for Cubans who are engaged in private business, my restaurant is very affordable. But mostly foreign tourists and diplomatics visit my restaurant. While Carlos and I were discussing all the delights of running a local business, they brought him water to a restaurant. It turns out, that’s how they provide water to all residents in Havana. Once every two days it is pumped into an underground tank. From there, using an electric motor, it is distributed among the tanks on the roofs of houses. To feel the true spirit of Cuba, you should definitely come here. The best tour operator – Coral Travel will help you with it. Only the best tours to Cuba, namely to Havana, Varadero and Holguin. The best vacations are those with Coral Travel. At first glance, life in Cuba seems vibrant and laid-back, all these colorful houses, music at each corner, and fun that comes from which nook and cranny. Coming to Havana, you will always we impressed by its architecture. But I was always curious to know how people live in these amazing houses. So let’s clear it up right now! So it all looks like this behind the scenes. Hello, boy! The dogs are barking in the yard. Let’s go together. This staircase is so ancient. Do you live here? – I do. Cool, let’s go together. Let’s visit your place. Isn’t that dangerous to use this staircase? Hello! Counters are up-to-date here. They all were recently set here. All these counters, right? – Yes. So each of it belongs to the separate apartment, right? My brother, an electrician, set them all. Did you twist these wires? – Great job! This is a kind of emergency I would say. It is dangerous, isn’t it? The boy is just laughing there. All right, let’s check it. The entrance is certainly very impressive. And you say that you do not have repairs in the entrance? Just look at this one now. Oh, God, all these retro cars and retro entrances.. In the very center of Havana, you can find such houses with small apartments. And the apartments are really small. 60 years ago, the new government took these buildings under its wing. It divided the mansions into small apartments. And let people live there absolutely free. At first glance, it seems gloomy, but the inhabitants of the house are very friendly. When you are just passing by as they greet you and immediately starts a conversation. As Karmen Helena did. Just noticing me, she immediately began to communicate. Cutie,c’mmon, put on something. You see we have guests today. Oh, he scared me. Boy, you listen to the granny’s words. You’d better put on something. Or maybe you feel hot, yeap? That’s the way people use to live here. You see? Hello. I came in to see how people live in Havana in these chic houses. Have you been living here for a long time? Karmen Helena Abreu, a teacher I have been living here for 50 years. Did you get this apartment or bought? Or how did you get it? When I was 15, I moved to my sister. She got this apartment for free from the government. Just like all apartments in this house. So she used to live in here with her husband. Where is she now then? My sister died and left the apartment a legacy. How many people live in it? I live here by myself only. So you feel yourself a Queen! You’ve got a cat and a dog. How much does your apartment cost? I choose not to think of figures. Karmen, you are so brilliant! You prefer not to think of its cost, not to think of what happens in case someone buyback this building. Here they are – happy real people who live today. And do you love to dance? – Definitely, I do. I just love it! Everyone dances here! It’s so cool! They are not sure about tomorrow, but they live their life today! So, you enjoy your time then! Besides, your dog is calling you now. I’ll go then. I am interested to see how you live here. Good Bye! Carmen could have been retired for 5 years. Well, she says that without work, she quickly gets old. And she still really wants to be young. In the opposite apartment lives a single mother Karina. She works as a nurse and for her $ 48 salary, she supports herself and her ten-year-old daughter. Despite the fact that the apartment is 15 square meters, the ceilings here are incredibly high. Therefore, the inhabitants of the house managed to turn a small room into two-story apartments. All doors are open here. So let’s get in. This apartment is brand new. Hello! – Hello! Karina, nice to meet you! She is my friend already! Here we came to see how you live. All the houses here are so beautiful. Is that a balcony over there? – Let’s check it! Can I? – You are welcome! It goes straight to the main street. People are walking. Cars are riding. Look, it just started to rain. That’s the way it all looks like. I’m so excited! I’m just going crazy with happiness. You have a better apartment than your neighbors do. Nurses probably earn more than teachers. Karina Lopez, a nurse That’s not true.
I just do everything so that my daughter grows up in comfortable living conditions. I should admit, that you are doing a great job! You have been living here for a long time, right? I have been living here for 20 years already. Did the government give you this apartment? You are right. We received this apartment from the government. Is your salary enough for you to live? Is it enough to provide your kid a good life, to buy food and clothes and to pay for utilities? By the way, do you pay for the utilities? Such as electricity and water etc? We spend money on the necessities. We pay 8 cents for the utilities. Some money we spend on school lunches and clothes. We save and its enough for us. Great job! My mother also told me in childhood to save money. If you save money, you would have all you want in your life. Who did the repairs to you? Did you hire any builders? I have a lot of friends. I asked them to help. Together we set the apartment in order. Tell me you would like to move from here? Do you want to live here constantly because it is a great place? No way. My daughter and I feel so good here. And the neighbours are awesome. We are all one big family. We always gather around one big table on big holidays and celebrate together. I am really happy for you to live such a good life. You are really doing great! Since I was in this house, I decided to check it completely. There are props so that the ceiling doesn’t collapse. It’s so cool. All the doors are open. Everybody lives together. The condition of the house is such that you don’t know which side something will suddenly fall on you. You see the barrels for water. Look, someone has air conditioning. Someone is wealthy here. It is amazing. Everything is mixed here and not clear at all, but everyone has a TV. Another staircase goes upstairs here. There is a Winter Garden over there. Just look at that. People also live here, as well as another apartments are here. On the roof of this house, as well as on the roof of other buildings, you can find superstructures in which families live as well. Miguel Sanchos, a cemetery worker Once it was impossible to build any new buildings in Havana. Therefore, residents were forced to take into use the roof of the houses and build their own housing there. Now, many of them have been privatized and may even be sold. And such a house will cost about 175 thousand pesos. The houses are built on the roof and people live here too. Here it is the real Havana. Most residents of Havana live in such conditions. They say that those whose relatives send them money from abroad live well here. But looking at their forever shining faces we can say that everything is not so bad. Coming to Havana, we immediately pay attention to bright retro cars. And here they are not only to ride tourists. Many Cubans are lucky owners of such cars. Since until recently, there were no other cars in the country. They are constantly repaired and restored so that the car remains salable. You don’t understand which car is older. This beautiful car is from 1955. It’s an old one, – you can say. But no way! It will give odds to any new foreign car. Because local auto mechanics just make wonders. And one of these craftsmen is Fernando. He is in cars since his childhood. For many years now, he has been helping car owners to keep their cars in working condition. Hello, Fernando! How are you doing? How is it all going? Fernando Kusido, an auto mechanic. It all goes well, thank you. This car will be on the go for another ten years. Are you already finishing this car or are you just starting to repair? It is my mom’s car and I’m doing a scheduled inspection. She wants to go to the beach so I need to make sure that the car works normally. That’s right. You should do your best for your mommy to be happy. How many cars do you repair a month and a week? Every day, two or three people come to me. As you know, all the cars in Cuba are either broken or they’ll breakthrough. Therefore, I have plenty of work. In general, I am engaged in restoration, I buy very old cars and create masterpieces from them. There is already a law that people can buy new cars. But people continue to buy broken cars and come to you for repairs. The problem is that the new car will be worth a lot of money. And the Cubans have no money. It’s easier for them to fix the car of his father, grandfather or grandgrandfather and to ride it then. And how much does such a car cost in Havana? It can be sold somewhere for $ 25,000. And what year is the car? This car is from 2002. Really? I know it looks much older. I thought it was a car from 1990. We do not have our own production in our country, so there is no competition. The seller sets the price that he wants. We understand that outside Cuba such a car will cost much less. We have to put up with our reality. You were allowed to buy and bring here new cars. So how much will it cost to buy a car of 2015 or 2018year of release? I am not asking about those from 2019. If a new car of this brand is brought into the country, it will cost 35-40 thousand dollars. We have one funny story in Havana. A couple of years ago, when they allowed to import cars, one car company opened its salon here. A car, far from premium class costed $250k. And you could buy it just for cash. As you can guess, buyers were never found. You mean the one who wanted to buy a car, had to bring all the sum in cash, right? It’s crazy! It turns out to be just a hobby and the source of extra income for Fernando. Officially, he rents part of his house to tourists and pays tax on this. And as a hobby, he repairs old cars and sells them several times more expensive. For the past 8 months, I have been repairing a car; I bought it for $ 6,000 and sold it for $ 24,000. A good hobby should be noted. But many people repair here cars not for the sake to sell them, but to earn money, on them. Havana is crowded with hundreds of retro cars and cabriolets, which ride hundreds of tourists showing them all around. And the very residents of Cuba drive retro cars once or twice in a lifetime. Drivers of such a taxi can earn about $200 a day. And this is four times a nurse salary. In order for the car to bring such income, it is necessary to constantly invest in it. Alexis, for example, spent several tens of thousands of dollars on his own. He repairs his car by himself. So let’s see how the families of local taxi drivers live! Hello! – Hello! It is so hot today! That’s the way a typical Havana house looks like. Is this a lounge, are you relaxing here? It’s awesome! This is another room here. Let’s check it right now. I’m so excited! This is a bedroom. It’s so cool here. I’m staying here. And this is air conditioning. Ooops. A baby is sleeping here. I’m sorry. – It’s ok. Didn’t I wake him up? – No, it’s ok. Sorry, I went in and started shouting. It’s so cool here. You have air conditioning. Yes, it’s quite cool here. All right, let’s go. Let the kid sleep then. This is a bedroom and a nursery together. There is air conditioning in the other bedroom as well. This one is for mother and her sons. I am so surprised at the air conditioners because this is the first place where I saw them. Air conditioning is a luxury for Cuba. Each of the three of them cost the family $ 600. Further down the corridor is a kitchen, a bathroom and back patio. It is worth saying that there is no Wi-Fi in the house since 1 GB costs $ 10. And only 6 Cuban Channels and 2 Venezuelan channels are shown on TV. The main place in the house is the garage. What a beauty! Is this your car? This is our family car my husband is working on now. So it is some kind of taxi, I see. You all have almost such cars in Cuba. And this is not a retro car for you. This is not some kind of vintage entertainment, this is a normal car for Havana residents. You are right, many people have retro cars here. But ours is a unique one. It was released in 1956. And there are only 12 cars like this actually. You completely restored it and dragged everything inside. It’s all brand new inside. Outside, it has been preserved in its original form. Can I get inside? You are welcome! Oh my God, just look at it! It is so comfortable! You just sit on this sofa and enjoy your time driving, going to the cinema etc! Right? This car is not just for work but for family leisure as well. This is very impressive to ride such a car to the supermarket to buy some food, I want to say. This sofa is unbelievably comfortable! I just love it! And you are all dreaming of Mercedes or Maybach or some of that expensive cars. Just look at this cool car! It is really awesome! Just wow! So now it’s high time to talk about routine. How many square meters is your house? Alexis Cordero, a taxi driver Our house is approximately 100 square meters. How much do you pay for utilities? We usually pay up to $6-8 per month. Is it comfortable for you to live in the same house with your mother-in-law? I am happy! Doesn’t she teach you or complain about any things? No way. We have a complete idyll. And I am very grateful to her for her help. Who is the main man or woman in the family? Woman is the main one in my family. And what about other families? Or are the women leaders in Cuba? Maurelis Socarris, a financier I don’t know how other families do. But I think it’s right. My husband always makes money and I manage our home. Men are always somewhere and they should always pull everything on their shoulders. Are you both dancers? – We are! But when I’m drunk, I can do it even better! All normal people dance even better when they have a cup of coffee and this is an absolutely normal situation in all the countries. It turns out Maurelis completely left her job to fully engage in parenting. Until recently, she worked as a financier in a bank and earned up to $ 152 a month. At one time she graduated from the University of Havana in which Fidel studied. This is one of the most prestigious universities in Cuba. Rosio is one of the students of this university, and right now I will figure everything out about student life from her. Is it difficult to enter the university here? Rosio Mendez, a student It’s not difficult to enter the university, but it all depends on the chosen specialty. Entering a university is absolutely free. That is, you gain points, pass exams and that’s it. Everything is absolutely free here. Even books and pens are free. The only thing I pay for is lunch and the bus and the fare is 50% discount. Please tell me do you get a scholarship for studying good? We receive a scholarship and it is $2 a month. And it’s just enough for food and transport. Do all the students receive a scholarship or only the best? All without exception receive a scholarship. After graduation, you want to stay living in Cuba or go somewhere? I would like to travel, but Cuba is in my heart and I wouldn’t leave it. Have you already traveled? Not yet, as just recently, it turned to be allowed to leave the country. But for Cubans, it’s too expensive. Do you have a foreign passport? Well, first of all, I should save some money for it. It costs $ 100, which is 50 of my scholarships. Passport is only half of trouble, then you need to collect all the documents and get a visa, which is also very expensive. There you have the change. People are allowed to go but they don’t have money for it. Being a student, do you often surf on the internet? When I study, I use the Internet at the university where we have free access to the necessary website. And on the phone, I rarely do it, because it is very expensive. What are you looking for on the Internet? Do you read the news or are you on the social networks? Of course, I hang out on social networks because reading the news is a waste of expensive megabytes. We watch the news on TV. We know that the truth is not enough there, but we are used to living our little reality and that suits us. It’s good to live in your own small world and study at the university. And why not? Whatever one may say, everyone lives his life in Havana differently. Someone lives brighter, someone lives modestly. But as I noticed, people who are engaged in their craft or business earn tens times more than those who work in government institutions. Carpenter is one of the most popular and profitable professions. Carpenters never sit idle, they either repair old furniture to save money or make new ones. After all, it costs ten times more in the stores. Is it true or not, let me ask my new friend Lino. He has been working as a carpenter for 20 years. Hello Lino! What’s up? Ooops. Be careful! I almost cut off my finger. How are you? Do you have a lot of work? That’s how we use to work. I pretended to hear and understand everything. It’s so noisy here! I know that a carpenter in Havana is one of the wealthiest people because you always have a job. Because furniture stores, whether they exist or not, are all very expensive, so everyone comes to you. Look at this little helper here who is knocking with a hammer as if on my head. Good boy! Thank God he stopped! All the furniture in the furniture store are very expensive. Do people come to you to order a table, chair or stool, right? There are a lot of orders but the work is not easy. All the furniture we make from used wood. Lino Ferrera, a carpenter. We have not permission to make furniture from the new materials. What does it mean? If someone cuts a tree and brings it to you, you have no right to make anything out of the new tree? The government does not issue permits, and it’s very difficult to get one by yourself. Please tell me what is the most popular thing people usually order? Most often, they order kitchen furniture, doors, and beds. How much does a double bed cost? What’s the price for it? Depending on the material, such a bed will cost from $48 to $400. How much does a carpenter in Havana earn per month? Usually, I get $ 400 a month. You have three children and a wife. Is your salary enough for you to maintain a house and such a large family? No matter how much you earn, that won’t be enough. Anyway, I won’t complain. Lino is a private entrepreneur. Upon retirement, he will not receive any payments or benefits from the government. He would have to provide himself some retirement payments. How do pensioners who have worked at state enterprises all their lives live? Now I’ll show you. Hello! -Hello! This Idelaiza and she is 94 years old. She worked as an accountant all her life. And now on she is a pensioner for 30 years. Idelaiza, together with her grandchildren and son lives in an apartment that the government gave them 50 years ago. So this is your living room, right? And this is a bedroom. Here is a closet, which divides the living area and a bed. Here you can see someone’s private things. Another clothes are in the wardrobe. The bed is over here and I can even hear the music. There is a fan hanging here as it is so hot in this area. So let’s see what we have here as I’m so much curious. You are welcome. Come in. And this is the kitchen if I can say it. Here they use to cook and wash the dishes. It’s compact but everything is there, a bathroom, a toilet and even the first floor. Please give me your hand and help me to get upstair. Thank you! I don’t know how my cameraman will get here. If you are drunk, you won’t reach it here. I guess I won’t be able to get down. I won’t return back to The Life of Others. Finally, we did it! Here we are. Youngsters are having rest. So this is a bedroom, right? Yes, this is one bed, and here is another one. Janis Estrada, a housewife Here I see another bed on the floor. Oh, this is an inflatable mattress. So you have to inflate it, right? No, It is pinned. I see. Anyway, you can just lay it down and that’s it. What else? It is quite a big room. Is it almost 15 square meters? You are right. It’s cool. They even have a chandelier here. Guys, come up. Otherwise, you would dream your life away. Well, now I see how the major part of senior in Cuba live. Now let’s talk to the mistress of this house. You are 94 years old. That is pretty a lot. So it turns out that you already lived here when the Americans were still here. You are right! When was it better to live then or now? Idelaiza Kabralez, a senior The poor now live much better because the government help. And this has not happened before. Everyone was for himself. Do you get a pension? My pension is very miserable, only $ 8, so my grandchildren really help me out. What do you do in retirement? I used to go to a club for seniors, but now my legs hurt so much that I won’t get there. I really miss those times, as all the senior use to love that club. It occurs that there are four clubs for seniours in Havana. They can visit them every day. Seniours can do exercises, watch movies and just entertain in there. They can even ask a doctor for consultation in the same club. It costs $1 per month. Already on the street, I met the regulars of this club. Hi, girls! Where are you going now? We are going to the cinema now. Wow, so you go to the cinema since the very morning. Marizza Mantilla, a senior It’s just a perfect time to watch a movie. Later on, we would dance and disperse the blood. Are you on retirement, right? – Yes, I am, dear. I am 90 years old already. Are you joking? You are my girl. At my heart, I’m still 20 years old. I did not have time to look back as my new friend had already rushed forward and led the column going to the cinema. But there was already a gentleman who wanted to guide me. Santiago turned to be not that quick. Nothing that we lag behind the column? Just let me help you now. Santiago Esperanzo, a senior Do you have many friends here? Yes, a lot of them. Is it better to visit the club than to stay home? It is much better here. Are you being fed in this center? We have three meals a day. What’s your favourite? – I love chicken. Have you been to this center for a long time? – I have been going here for five years now. Do you love to dance? I always dance, despite sore legs. Do you get any pension? I get $11 per month. Is it enough for you? There is no other way but to make it work. Here it is. Let’s get it, as the film is about to end. It is cool inside and there is a large TV. So all together we will watch a feature film as in a pioneer camp. They will have lunch after it, and the day will come to an end. The schedule here is like the one in the kindergarten. Pensioners are entertained and busy here. So they are not boring at home and this is very important. How important it is not to lose the taste for life at any age and rejoice at the little things that fill our lives. Life in Cuba has really begun to change lately. Cubans can now travel, use the Internet, and eventually change their retro cars. Unfortunately for many, this is still a dream. Despite this, locals do love their country and really hope that soon: the salaries will be higher, it will be possible to travel the world without problems, it will be enough of machines in the hospital, the education will be better, everything will remain just as it is, I will buy myself a new foreign car, we will finally get a high-speed Internet, everyone would love to see Cuba with their own eyes. In fact, changes in our lives depend only on us. And not on the life of others.