In Havana, Diana and her son adjust to the challenges of quarantine

by Diana

We are good and healthy and adapting to the new challenges that living in quarantine brings. Once a week I go out for grocery, specially fruits and vegies. I usually go to an “agro”  (food store) nearby where I’m able to go by foot and still keep social distance. At this “agro” normally I can buy 3 types of fruits (guava, pineapple and bananas) and some tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, etc. The prices at this place are expensive for most Cubans and I consider myself fortunate to be able to afford it. We are also lucky to live in Vedado, which is a better supplied area, where we can find what we need at a relative near distance.

The country is under lockdown, and government officials stress the importance of remaining at home to limit the spread of the virus. Still people have the need to go out looking for increasingly scarce food supplies. The government provides eggs and chicken, as well as rice, beans, sugar, coffee, etc. at the “bodega” (grocery store run by the government) but people foresee that these supplies won’t last until we go back to our normal life. In an attempt to relieve some burden, the government distributed a package with soap, toothpaste and a few more things at the “bodegas” at a subsidized price, but to access other products Cubans need to make long queues, which is precisely what the government is trying to avoid. No doubt they are trying their best, but with a flawed economy and USA embargo, COVID-19 is emphasizing the hardships of the Cuban people. 

The synagogue remains closed, but the administration staff keeps active reaching out to those members that may need assistance. Elders are receiving some monetary help and luckily none of our members have been positive to COVID-19. 

Dario is okay although he is constantly complaining about how bored he gets at home, and how much he miss his classmates. It has been a month since we are in quarantine. The Department of Education is showcasing the classes on national TV. For example, Dario receives his Math lessons on Mondays, and Spanish lessons on Fridays. These are nationwide lessons, and it aims to ensure that every student receives long distance lessons at a high quality standard. 

We are not sure when all this COVID-19 threat is going to be over. Apparently Cuba will reach the corona-virus peak in the middle of May, so we are preparing ourselves for another month of quarantine. We have and average of 50 new cases every day throughout the island. Although health is our priority, it is hard not to be concerned about the economic impact in our already debilitated economy. And at the same time praying for our friends and family members all around the world.

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