Out One, In the Other / Yoani Sánchez

Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

This year we have not been able to bathe, even in the first downpour of May. In Havana, the drought has robbed us of this rain that popular tradition associates with good luck. The mangoes hanging from the branches seem to await the coming of a shower to ready themselves for our mouths. The striations in the dirt, the barely flowering buds of the flame trees, and this sticky dust that fills the air will only leave when it begins to pour. Where is the drizzle on the windowpane, the smell of the humidity, the droplets left on the leaves after a storm!

But the worst thing is the loneliness of the pipes, the strained trickle that comes from the taps, area residents carrying water in buckets because the aqueduct has almost no reserves left to pump. Faces covered in sweat, stinking shirts, nearly empty clotheslines because the precious liquid is not enough. Don’t spend too long in the bathroom! Reinaldo shouts, so that the tank on our balcony won’t run dry. Meanwhile, the building’s cistern becomes a sad puddle, and the hosepipes hover above its minimal limits.

And on top of such dryness, is the belief that this year’s agricultural output may be worst than last year’s, if the rain holds off once and for all. We’ll see the headlines in the press saying banana production is down, rice hasn’t withstood the drought, and fruit trees have been hit the hardest. And this feeling that there is always something missing for a full plate and that our salaries don’t stretch far enough. Whether from poor management, the lack of material incentives for the farmers, or the stubborn rain that, today, obstinately denies us its favors.