Holding Our Breath / Rebeca Monzo

For a long time, here on my planet, we have been waiting to see what might happen. We can never plan anything in our lives because we are not certain of being able to achieve anything no matter how much effort we make.

Another December 24th is approaching, although the stores are still empty. The long daily pilgrimage in search of food wears us out. We have to visit at least two or three markets find enough to make a salad. Not to mention meat (mostly pork), every day less and lower quality.

We, the people on this planet, despite all the daily difficulties, cherish throughout the year the idea of having a decent Christmas Eve. That means, having at least one piece of barbecue pork, some black beans, white rice, some dessert and at least one bottle of wine, even homemade. I don’t think that is so much to ask for. However, this can not be achieved in all households, for this simple meal would cost the following:

About four pounds of pork, thirty-five pesos a pound, would be a hundred and forty pesos.

Two pounds of black beans, at fifteen pesos a pound, would make a total of thirty pesos.

Two pounds of rice at three-fifty a pound, would add another seven, green pepper costs twelve pesos a pound and onion ten. A dessert will not be less than ten pesos: guava paste and soy cream cheese, plus the above mentioned bottle of wine would cost about sixty Cuban pesos. The cost of fuel and so on would make the final tally two-hundred-sixty-nine pesos for a simple and paltry dinner.

If the average salary is about three hundred pesos (which it is not, not precisely), on what can a citizen of this planet count on to have a poor Christmas dinner? Furthermore, what money would remain for the end of the month?

But since this country seems to be miraculous, the people use their ingenuity to get the money, either with the help of friends or family overseas, or by some last minute business. We are just holding our breath, God will have the last word.

Translated by Ricote

December 8, 2010