Her name is Regla (don’t forget to roll that “R”). Her husband is Thomas and their daughter is Caroline. They live in Trinidad, Cuba on the edge of the city, away from the tourist areas, away from the fresh paint being applied for the upcoming 500th anniversary of the city. Like most Cubans, they are dirt poor.
Regla speaks some English which is an asset in this tourist destination. She supplements her government allowance by working for a restaurant near the city center. She approaches tourists and attempts to steer them to a meal at La Cieba, for which she receives a commission. With her engaging personality she is easy to communicate with.
I know her from my previous trip to Trinidad in 2013. We had a jovial and boisterous conversation then. One member of our group made the remark about Caroline … “What a beautiful girl”. Without missing a beat Regla responded “like her mama”. We all laughed and repeated the phrase over and over again.
On this past trip I went to find Regla to give her some photos and give Caroline some gifts. When I found her and showed her the photos I said “just like her mama”. Her face lit up and we both laughed. I was amazed that she remembered our 2013 conversation and she was amazed that I remembered it as well.
It was another special moment.