Cuba Daily Life

Cuba: A Country of Contrasts

I must admit, I had preconceived ideas about what Cuba may look like and how “oppressed” the people there must be under the communist regime. After all, I had read and heard all my life how destitute and hopeless the people of Cuba must be without our support and the sanctions our government had placed upon the country. What a misconception! While Americans’ travel to Cuba has been limited, citizens from other countries have been traveling there freely for many years thus creating a thriving and successful tourism economy. Likewise, most of the images and reports I have seen and read paint a picture of decay, despair, and doom. It is simply not true! There are many beautifully restored buildings. Many international hotel companies operate luxury hotels, there are wonderful museums, retail boutiques, and much more.


On the other hand, there is an equal or greater amount of dilapidated buildings and squalid living conditions for many. In reality, it is very similar to many other countries I have visited and unfortunately, like many cities in the USA. While many people there live in sub-standard conditions in comparison to here in the USA, I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable and content many Cubans seemed to be. I did not detect a sense of hopelessness or despair. Perhaps they don’t know what they’re missing; and perhaps, they feel like their needs are met and thus don’t require all the trappings of “American success”.


After spending almost a week in Cuba, I am reminded that happiness and contentment do not come from obtaining more stuff. More does not equal better. Hope, happiness, and contentment originates and resides “inside” and is not based on how much I have. Sometimes, I have to go out of my way to find my way! Ahhh, the wonders of travel…