Translator: Lita Q.

Archive photo

They were a deeply rooted tradition in our country, the groups made up of three members, called Trios or Tercetos, which proliferated in the 40s and 50s.

The country’s development took with it the creation and expansion of multiple recreational venues: cabarets, restaurants, open airs, the movies, and later, television. A country of musical greats and different opportunities to develop and express oneself. This made ever more musical groups appear, above all those of this little format, which served to lighten and make long Cuban nights more cozy. Thus emerged: The Matamoros Trio, Trio La Rosa, Trio Taicuba, The Lake Brothers, The Chancellors, The Ambassadors, Voices of America, The Indomitables, to only mention a few of the endless list.

After ’59, they went around closing those venues mentioned earlier, and around the middle of the seventies a sort of dry law popped up which finally shut them down for good; until television was left as the only option for these musicians. Thus they left little by little, most of them abandoning the country; and those who remained dedicated themselves to surviving at unrelated jobs, losing many good examples of our popular music.

Nonetheless, the picturesque creole has brought a new definition that doesn’t appear in Spanish language dictionaries: a trio is a symphonic Cuban orchestra which goes on tour abroad and returns.

However, on our planet there exists another small format: a duo, which, as its sole option for more than 50 years, is making us dance to the same tired rhythm.

Translated by: JT

February 28 2011


She is not beautiful (at least not according to the canon of dogs), but she possesses the 3 key qualities that convinced me to take care of her: she’s female, flirtatious and abandoned. I could not leave her in the street, and she was interrupting my sleep. However, I could not take care of her and her puppy, because I already have a mini zoo in my house. I spoke to many people attempting to persuade them to keep the puppy, but was unsuccessful. Everyone is too worried about the food, and besides, here in my planet there is no culture of keeping pets.

Unfortunately, ever day one can find an abandoned pet. This pains me. It is also worrisome, that with time, these animals will become disease carriers.

They say that we have a Pet Protection Society. The truth is that, like all of our other things, it doesn’t work. Sometimes I see modern cars with the Society’s logo, but when one calls to report an abandoned animal, they simply reply that there is no room for them.

Today, when I went to take her food, I learned that her puppy had died. I brought her to my apartment and before bringing her up we bathed her and removed all the fleas. My husband, having foreseen her arrival, made a little house for her. Margarita and my other dog Lucky (who came to my house under similar circumstances) smelled each other and barked at each other a little but soon enough it passed. Now they are playing together on the roof. Margarita seems sad, but grateful. She shows it in her body language. When we approach her she stands on her hind legs and wags her tail. I believe that soon she will feel at home, because this is the first time she’s had one. She was brought to the neighborhood by construction workers of energy efficient homes for medical personnel (microbrigades) to be a sort of night guard. She was baptized with that name. Once the project was completed they left and abandoned the dog. As of then, the neighbors began to take care of her.

On Monday the vet will come to vaccinate her and remove parasites. In the end, the pet is one more member of the family. Today I will sleep better after Margarita’s rescue.

Translated by: Lita Q.

This is not about Marco Polo. This is about a great 90-year-old woman. She lives in New Zealand, and is a great artist and wonderful person. She loves to share her art, so she travels long distances to demonstrate her creations and give free workshops.

Three years ago I had the honor of meeting her and the privilege of being her student.

According to what my friend who introduced us told me, she met Betty when she came to my planet as a tourist. Immediately, she empathized when my friend and a beautiful friendship resulted. From there the idea to return was born, but instead of returning as a tourist, she returned as a teacher. She assigned my friend the task of choosing a small group of friends who would be interested in learning her trade…I was one of the lucky chosen ones.

When the teacher arrived, with a lot of materials and white silk, the only thing she needed was a space. This is when our troubles began. We spoke with the authorities in our municipality and asked if they could provide a place for our workshops. When we explained what it involved and that it was completely free of charge, they accepted us.

The long-awaited day came and we went to the “House of Culture” carrying our materials and silk weaving panels with enthusiasm. Upon arriving to the location we were turned away because our teacher was foreign. Completely embarrassed, we called around to find someone who could help us. Finally, we found a dirty and practically abandoned location. We had to improvise tables and sit on boxes. Our teacher, who was 87-years-old (she celebrated her birthday while she was with us) adapted well without any complaints and introduced, with all the love that only a true teacher has, her beautiful world of silk.

Now, three years later, while travelling such great distances, she has returned to teach us the ins and outs of silk painting. This time we improvised our workshop in the garage of the building where I live. With her love and dedication she has marked a new silk road.

Translated by: Lita Q.

To my granddaughters abroad.

One cold night in November, I was awaken by the cry of a kitten. I tried to tell myself, “calm down, tomorrow you will see where it is”. Impossible, I could not find sleep.

I covered myself with a sweater, grabbed a lantern and conquering my fears, climbed down from the third floor to see what was happening around the building. I found nothing, but the cries continued, becoming stronger every time.

I went up the stairs and awoke my husband so he could help me look through our garage. We searched through all the artifacts we have accumulated with our neighbors, until, finally, we saw a pair of flashes behind a car tire that then disappeared. I ran up the stairs and heated up some milk in a bowl. Soon, a tiny black cat with white paw tips appeared with a bright star on its forehead, like a proud steed. It devoured the milk immediately and the cries ceased. We returned to our apartment so that early in the morning we could feed the kitten again and try to get it used to us.

Soon we confirmed one more time that “love enters through the kitchen”. In the following days we repeated our operation until the kitten began to trust us. We discovered that it was a she, thus she needed even more protection. Just like in “El Principito“, we were domesticated by a black cat which we named Wampy. We removed her fleas. At seven months we neutered her, protecting her further. Soon that tiny animal won all of the neighbors’ affection, who have become her god-parents. Our relationship with them, which used to be very severed, improved since her appearance. Even though the cat is ours–we are responsible for feeding her and visits to the vet–she spends hours visiting with our neighbors, who narrate cat stories as if they were referring to a young family member

Translated by: Lita Q.