Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pioneer

I look at the picture and a mixture of feelings comes into my mind. When adults look at them they usually find the flaws, the signs and the cracks that the communist regime scattered through all the education system.

Castro took all the responsibilities that we have as parents and banished all signs of the all school system: no private’s and catholic’ schools, only one system with only one methodology and a unique way to teach. The new regime took from our parents their will and acted in their behalf without any dissention allowed.

But when I look at it, the pictures, I am talking about those pictures, I see myself swearing to my flag, singing our national anthem and listening to our teachers telling the magic stories about our heroes. They were gods for us, and the aura surrounded them was fascinated.

I did remember those years with happiness: I learned, I enjoyed writing stories about every single detail in our national history. My recollection is the one of a little boy in a school room, listening my teacher of the moment talking about Che, Camilo, Abel Santamaria, all those heroes were our pirates and their stories were the fairy tales of my childhood.

There is a huge difference with nowadays school system: our teachers. They were outstanding teachers. I remember my first one, her name was Mirta, with her sweet voice and her gentle way to tell us what to do or not. She knew how to play piano and guitar and a beautiful voice for children’s songs, and the patience of the giant.

Today, I look at the school system and I don’t see her replacement there: they are too young, with too many flaws and a huge lack in attitude and aptitude. Many of them don’t have the proper skill to teach, they even don’t have any artistic and skillful ability that my old school teacher personalize herself.

Moreover, I have the bad feeling that our children are growing up too fast and loosing the fantasy and the beautiful world that childhood brings and I wonder if I am wrong. I had walked close to some schools and I saw children playing adults roles, singing songs appropriate for adults and talking about the our actual issues in a kind of way more near to our world than their age shows.

I don’t recognize myself on them; I never talked on that age about dollars, sex and the world that adults bring to our society. We play, we share our toys, we made jokes and laugh every single day about our own jokes.

I was a pioneer and I was happy to be a pioneer, and every morning in the early meeting in our school yard I sworn and praised what every pioneer says today in Cuba: “Pioneros por el Comunismo, Seremos como el Che” (Pioneers by the Communism, We will be like Che”).

I admit, it sounds absurd and kitsch, and even knowing that Che is an icon for too many people, almost untouchable, in that moment, I will want to be like Che, or any of those heroes.

Today, I just want to be myself, and trust me, I won’t be like Che or any other, but this is my adult world. As a child, I was a pioneer and my fantasy was untouched. Today, the school system and the childhood world are reckless. We don’t have children living in a children world: Cuba had changed the other way around, for worst.

I look at the pictures, and I feel sorry for them: they don’t know how we were.

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