Olivia

Olivia just turned 90 years old. She lives in abject poverty with her 75-year-old daughter in Trinidad, Cuba.   When I met her last year she was sitting on the curb outside her home cleaning a plate full of rice. In Cuba rice is sold in bulk and purchased by weight, no neat and clean packaging. In fact, the rice that is grown in Cuba is dried by spreading it out on one lane of the nearest asphalt roadway while traffic shares the other lane. Any dirt or foreign matter is carefully picked out before cooking.

I found her by showing the pictures I brought with me to people in her neighborhood. Everyone knew her and was eager to help. She graciously invited me and my fellow travelers into her home. I couldn’t help but notice that she had on the same clothes as she did a year ago. I hoped it was just a coincidence. Her home was sparsely furnished. There was a couch with a thin cushion for the seat, but no cushion for the back. It was not the least bit comfortable. In one corner there was an old nineteen inch television set with rabbit ears. There was also a table top bookcase where her daughter placed the pictures I gave them.

Olivia seems full of life, but her daughter indicated that her mind was starting to go.

They were both pleased that someone remembered them and took the time to revisit.

It was my pleasure.

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