Oswal lives in the neighborhood where I always stay in Havana. When I see him on the street, he always tries to speak with me in English. One day his mother and father invited me into their home. The father spoke some English and wanted his son to learn. I emphasized how important it will be for Oswal’s future. In eight or ten years when he is looking for work, one of the many new hotels in Havana might hire him if he speaks another language. A restaurant or hotel job would give Oswal the opportunity to earn tips in the highly coveted tourist money. ( CUCs)
In October I brought a Spanish/English dictionary and told Oswal to practice and that I would check on him when I visited again.
Before I left for home, I received a nice message from his mother thanking me for encouraging her son to study:
“Hola Marco. Estoy muy agradecida por que gracias a usted Oswal se a interesado por el english.”
(“Hi Mark. I am very grateful that thanks to you Oswal was interested in the english language.”)
When I returned two months later I presented Oswal with a study guide.
I’ll visit whenever I get back to Havana and try to encourage him more. He’s young, and girls and cell phones will distract him, but at least he now has the opportunity to better himself.