I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. But since it’s been a year I actually fully joined a Cuban family it’s time to write few things about it.
Before I move to Cuba I was pretty independent. I was living alone, 3000 km from my hometown, had a job I liked, friends and … freedom. I could do whatever I wanted, buy anything I really wished for, go on holidays with my girlfriends, work extra hours and all that. But then I moved to Cuba to live with a Cuban family. And things have changed.
I was observing Cubans a lot while living there. What do I think about women in Cuba as a woman?
- Women are respected in Cuba. I must say. Mothers especially. But also somebody’s girlfriends. Nobody will hit on you if your boyfriend is Cuban. It doesn’t apply to foreigners off course 🙂 Cuban man will help a neighbor to brig the groceries home. They will stand in the bus if there’s a lady with no seat. They will open you the door.
- Women work hard. Harder than man. A lot of women are active and work the same hours as men but when they come back home they still have to make food, wash the clothes, feed animals if they have some. I know you’ll say it’s the same here. Trust me it’s not the same. Cuban women doesn’t have any modern devices to help them. Washing clothes takes a day. A full day. I was never so tired in my life as when I had to wash clothes. Cooking? One stove for everything so if you want to eat at 8pm better start to cook at 4pm, or earlier.
- Women in Cuba don’t have time for anything. Because it just takes so much time to do everything. You have to go the bank? Prepare yourself for waiting in lines for 2/3 hours. Need to buy something? Be ready to visit all shops in the village to find it. When in the end of the day, after work, and kids and home you have 5 minutes, it’s 11 pm and you’re just to tired to even think about yourself.
- Women in Cuba can’t really be independent. Almost nobody in Cuba gets officially married. So it’s not that they all dream about white dress and the wedding rings. They actually study a lot. I know a lot of Cubans who are psychologists and doctors and teachers and etc. But the salaries in Cuba make them impossible to do what we do. To live alone, enjoy the life, to have a career. The rents are too big, the salaries to small so most of the families live together. It’s normal that in one house there’re 10 people living.
- Women in Cuba are treated in a different way then the men are. They go out with their friend until they are 18 and/or single. When you have a man you don’t go out my lady, oh no. Ok you go out with your man. But not alone. Women meet each other at homes or on the street or in the bars when they go out with the guy. Alone not really. It really annoys me when I go out with my friends and Fidel gets mad. Of course after living in Poland every time he gets mad less. But still he’s Cuban and I will never be able be change some things. And I really don’t want to 😉
- Cuban women don’t have access to so many things 😦 From basic hygiene products like tampons to clothing. Buying a bra it’s a real challenge. The same as nice clothes or cosmetics or anything else.