lundi 21 novembre 2011

INTENSE DAYS IN LA HABANA,CUBA



INTENSE DAYS IN LA HABANA
How does a society affect the character of individuals in that society, such that he or she excels in human characteristics and not exhibit qualities of competition, greed or envy?
Come to Cuba, live with the Cubans for a little while and you would understand. The Journalists who visit this country only talk about the privations (mainly material ones) but the human aspects of Cuba are not newsworthy.
These very same souls would listen intensively to HH Dalai Lama who would say: External Things will not bring you Internal Happiness.
In the past two days, there has been an ambience in the house full of visitors, mainly friends from previous shared times of joy, knowledge and laughter.
Sharing is something Cubans do so well. Since there is a dearth of material goods to share, what is an abundance, the emotions and affections are shared freely. And at the same time the welfare of the group is well attended in ways that is appropriate and congruous.
Three visitors from the Psychology Department of the institute of Endocrinology came to visit: a treasury of knowledge and affections and a genuine feeling of friendship. Hours passed in conversations and continued over a pleasant lunch at La Roca, a restaurant in Vedado.
Many telephone calls to Baracoa, where a whole heap of affections awaited. Was good to be able to talk to them, as communications with Baracoa is not the best, depending upon the weather. A fourth year medical student, wanted a scarf like mine, but I couldn't part with the one I was wearing, a memento of a visit to a Cambodian NGO in Phnom Penh. So I decided to go and look through the various bags and was glad to find a “bufanda” fit enough to send to Baracoa.
A visitor from Baracoa had come here, constant counselling and talking and participating in the every day life of this household, with great generosity of the owner, a retired professor, began to show improvements in her mind and the body. I loaded up various bags of goodies to go to Baracoa to be shared among my many friends.
When it came time for her to leave for Baracoa, today at noon, it was tears all around, and we had lunch in relative silence. Soon a fourth year Philosophy student who is doing a thesis related to medical anthropology arrived with his professor, a colleague of mine of many years. We talked for the next two hours clarifying about culture and disease. Intense though the conversation was, it was sheer pleasure, to give to Cuba a fraction of what it has given me.
Cuba has allowed me to be myself, and enhanced that which I cherish in myself.