Whenever I have to wear heals for a dressy occasion I think of these women and their grace and charm. Watching as they passed us by on a busy Cuban avenue, during a festival that I have forgotten, I was struck by the color and life they brought to an otherwise rather grey and barren place. There is so little in the way of luxury in Cuba that even the bigger cities are without embellishments, Buildings, cars, roads, everything goes unrepaired and broken as there is just no money to put back into the country.
Despite the poverty, the people are warm and generous. They earn extra money in very inventive ways and are always thrilled to get anything you are nice enough to leave them. We left our clothes as we had little else to give them. Our suitcases were certainly a lot lighter coming home. We took lots of personal hygiene products there with us, coloring books, pencils, anything we could think of. I wish we had thought to take tooth brushes. It seems that they have a very hard time getting these as well as soaps.
If you are planning to go there, pack stuff you don' intend to keep. Someone will be so happy to have them.