About Cuban Inventiveness

The Columbian professor Efrén Delgado, Director of the University of Latin American Workers (UTAL), defines Cubans as one of the most recursive societies thanks to their ability to perfectly adapt to any circumstance and find the most amazing solutions to their problems. Proof of this was the resolution of an extremely complex puzzle, which came from a Cuban group at the same university. The way in which it was resolved stunned the teacher.

Extractin / Frank Correa
Extractin / Frank Correa

If it was possible to fix it is because subsistence in Cuba is a puzzle daily. Everyone must endeavor something at every step, arming themselves on the fly, and guaranteed by their own livelihood at the end of the day. The following day, it remains to begin again the long task of assembling a new puzzle.

Lupe, one of my neighbors, gave one eloquent example of one of these fantastic outputs to the necessary needs. Mayito, a coffee vendor, asked to sell him a corduroy coat that Lupe displayed as sent to her by her goddaughter from Miami. In fact, a piece was used, and acquired at the store-bought recycling store “El Naútico”.

Since Mayito did not have the money to buy the coat and he badly needed it, Lupe, who is a heavy coffee drinker, proposed to give him it for 8 CUC (192 Cuban pesos), a token price considering a coat from Miami that Mayito would be pay Lupe with a cup of coffee every morning.

“Now I have 192 days of guaranteed coffee, tremendous business!”, Lupe said, satisfied with the agreed deal, and swears he cannot live without the aromatic grain.

The coffee is for Lupe what the coca bean is for the natives of the Andes. With a “coffee shot” at daybreak he arrives in good conditions until the afternoon, the moment in which she had to invent something else for food. With the agreement she could even invite another friend to morning coffee, something that gives him reputation although this went in detrimental to her negotiation, because it shortens the 192-day cycle.

Another test that confirms Efrén Delgado’s theory is that of a group of drunken of Jaimanitas who have survived this harsh winter of 2016 with chicken broth and roster to fight the cold days and assimilate alcohol intake. The group, meeting every evening around a pot close to the shore of the sea, explained that they didn’t buy the ingredients anywhere, and simply expect the leftovers thrown into the sea or the river as offering to Yemaya or Oshun. There are left to rescue them and add them into boiling water.

“We chose this site of the coast for puting the pot because the sea current brings them directly here. Sometimes in one day we get up to four chicken heads, as well as pumpkins, melons, bananas, a feast”, according to Michiflin, one of the group members.

The health enjoyed recently also has a somewhat astonishing explanation. One of them located in the pharmacies, a new drink that has been christened with the name “extractin”, a tincture of rosemary prepared by the Pharmaceutical Company to combat colds. Prepared with almost pure alcohol and mixed with the juice of that herb, it only costs three pesos; much more cheap than the ninety degree alcohol that demeaning to fifty percent with water. The new drink of the group, replaces other “inventions” of the clandestine sellers: Chispa de tren (“Spark Train”), Patada de King Kong (“Kick King Kong”), Pisotón de Mamut (“Stomp Mamut”).

They all seem to be behind the extractin, according to Michiflin, who after he drinks his steaming chicken broth, takes his flask from his pocket, gives himself a drink and displays delight. Something to consider: for the purity of this compound, the pharmaceutical authorities recommend in your preparation only twenty drops per glass of water, but these guys caught in alcohol have with a shot quite a while of euphoria and fantasy.

“Apart from allows as to be high, it has made us a sort of logs, look at us! No one has a cold, no pain at all. While there are chickens and extractin, firewood and pan, let winter come! We are ready to fight it”.

Autor

Guantánamo, 1963. Escritor y periodista independiente. Ha obtenidos diferentes premios internacionales en literatura y periodismo, entre los que destacan el Concurso Novelas de Gavetas Franz Kafka, organizado por Libriti Prohibiti de la República checa y los premios de reportaje Emilio Alejandro Núñez 2015 y el Hypermedia 2016, en España. Es miembro de la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba.

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