Cuba – 2003 – The hospital

As I mentioned before, we brought medical items to Cuba.  We knew that there were shortages of some medical items at least, so we brought some. Our guide, the woman seen above, made an appointment with the head of the Children’s Hospital. One day we took a cab, I think, to the hospital. The man shown here is the city guide, I believe.

One interesting thing to see was the once large homes along the ocean that had been divided up into small apartments. Don’t want no stinking, rich people here, do we. The houses were all of the same era, no new houses have been built here for decades.

Many young people forgo marriage because it is impossible to find a rental house or an apartment. The government doesn’t waste its money on housing. No, they send soldiers to Angola and South America. Anyway, don’t get me started.

We finally reached the hospital. It was a huge two story building, probably built by the Russians again. It looked like an army barracks. It was dreary inside, painted that two tone green that so many old buildings were painted in years ago.

This was a children’s hospital. We know you have talented artists, we saw them at the University. Why not have them come and paint animal scenes on the walls and liven this place up a bit, my wife asked. Our guide had no answer. the elevator was operated by an old man. He sat on a wooden soda bottle case of some brand, turned on end.

Eventually we met with two doctors who seemed happy to accept our medical supplies. I sat with them and my wife took a picture of us. On the desk was a photo of you know who. That’s right, Fidel was there with us in spirit in that photo on the desk. So I have a photo of myself, two Cuban doctors, and in it is a photo of Fidel. A nice little reminder of our trip to the hospital in Havana.

When we were preparing to leave Cuba we still had some personal medicines on hand. I asked a police officer walking out on the road where we might find a pharmacy. He pointed to a building up the street. We walked up the street and entered the pharmacy. We showed the bottle to the clerk and asked if they might be able to use them. They said yes and gladly took them. While standing there in the “pharmacy,” I noticed that there were no pre-packaged, over the counter medicines of any type in the store. Perhaps they had all manner of supplies in back somewhere, but who knows. I don’t think so.