The CL community in Cuba (before Covid)

Cuba: The truth that gives meaning to everything

More than from the pandemic, people are suffering from a lack of food. On the island, life is a daily struggle. A climate of uncertainty and anger dominates. In the midst of this is the light of School of Community via Whatsapp chat.

In Cuba, the arrival of Covid-19 brought with it many of the challenges that almost the whole world shares, and others more particular to the country's situation. More than the disease itself, we have been hit by a dramatic shortage of food and other basic necessities. The little that is available is obtained with great difficulty, going out almost every day to stand in line in front of stores, often returning home empty-handed. At first, following the guidelines to stay at home meaning often finding oneself without food and other necessities. Because you cannot go out just once to shop for several days’ worth of food. You live day by day, as we say here, "struggling". Struggling to survive and struggling to "process" the indignation for so much injustice. Faced with this landscape, there is always the possibility that we reduce life to a constant frenzy of searching for what is necessary to live, that everyone goes their own way, "resolving" as they can, in a climate of uncertainty, anger and despair.

For us, nothingness, the emptiness Carrón speaks about in his book, also has these nuances: nothing abstract! Just as it is not abstract that companionship saves us from these reductions. The desire to see each other somehow survived, but the creativity to make this happen was a little dormant. But in the midst of the fog of adversity came the calls of our visitor and a friend from Mexico, who were interested in how School of Community was going and about the possibilities offered by technology for the community to be “connected”, to somehow follow the path offered by the movement, if there was the desire. First, we created two Whatsapp groups, one for Havana and the other for the city of Matanzas, in which we could share the needs of the community, a place to ask and offer.

Bearing in mind that here for most people it is impossible to establish an internet connection for video-conferences or group calls, the idea of using a Whatsapp group (which we already had for announcements) to do School of Community in "chat mode", with the two groups of the Cuban community, Havana and Matanzas, was born. We established a precise day and time each week, lasting one hour. Interventions and questions are preferably sent during the week to those who lead School of Community, so that they have time to process answers and comments. On the specified day and time, everyone who can connects. The group leader begins with a greeting, the Angelus, an introduction, and then indicates the order in which everyone should send their chat-intervention. After each posting, everyone is given one minute to read, then the person in charge sends the comment and finally indicates the next participant. The first day of this chat-School of Community was a real display of joy of us being together, an explosion of desire to be together. It has been three months now, and we are treading this part of the journey thus, with its ups and downs; not without challenges, but accompanied, walking and questioning...

Read also - Daryl's encounters

The Covid situation in Matanzas has never been very complicated. The challenge was greater, however, for our friends of Havana. They are still unable to meet in person, both because of the confinement measures and lack of public transport. In Matanzas they were able to resume School of Community in person, every fortnight, for several weeks. And the same thing happens again: the joy of meeting is very evident, which normally extends beyond the time and place of School of Community.

During the meetings, both School of Community via chat and in person, what resounds in the background is the certainty that, thank God, in this “place” you will find what you are truly looking for. Because we seek - and we must search daily - for food and many things, which most of the time we do not find... But we always find the Truth, which gives meaning to everything else we search for (and also helps to find everything else), in the place of Christian companionship...if we are attentive.

Alejandro, Matanzas, Cuba