Clogged Toilets, Without Water, Filthy and Broken: The Bathrooms in a Havana School

Parents regret that their children must try to get through the entire school day without relieving themselves because of the filth in the bathrooms. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 18 January 2019 — Tired of raising the problem year after year, parents of students enrolled in the José Luis Arruñada school, in Havana, decided to report on social networks and other channels the unfortunate situation of the bathrooms. Clogged, without water, filthy and broken, the sanitary services are one of the many problems of the educational center.

For years the principal of La Arruñada, as the school is popularly known, asked for patience and a vote of confidence to repair the breaks that had toilets, sinks and urinals. But the justifications and promises accumulated without the solution appearing and the parents have had to finance cleanings and quick repairs, without the situation improving in the long term.

The school, which serves elementary and secondary students, has been deteriorating in the last six decades. It went from being a school run by the Catholic Brothers of La Salle to being part of the state network administered by the Ministry of Education. In all this time the large property, which occupies an entire block, has barely benefited from some paint and new school furniture. Two years ago they replaced the old pipes with new plastic ones, but that did not solve the problem either and the problems of clogged plumbing continued.

“How am I going to demand that my son wash his hands before eating if there is no water in the bathrooms and the sinks are all broken?” a mother asked at the last parent meeting held at the school last Tuesday. The question floated in the air, until another voice complained that her daughter “gets home every day of the school bursting” with the desire to urinate because during the eight hours that she spends in the classroom she does not dare to go to the toilets.

“Here there is always a story to justify things, but in the meantime the children are the ones who have to endure all day with the desire to relieve themselves because of the filth in those bathrooms,” the voice said with a hint of weariness, after waiting for many years an improvement.

Of the two bathrooms available for fourth, fifth and sixth grade, there is only one that works, and that badly. In the others, the colors of the old tiles of the floor can barely be made out because of the dirt, the toilets are clogged, and the doors of each cubicle were long ago were torn out and stolen.

Now, for the first time in decades, the images of deterioration and neglect come to light in social networks, but at least three generations of students have endured the stench that accumulates between those walls.


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