Valerie Bloom

writer and performance poet

My own Caribbean adventure…

on 12 January 2015

I’ve just spent a couple of idyllic weeks in Cuba and have had a lot to think about since then. I was touched by the friendliness and the courteousness of everyone and by the unspoilt, uncommercialised honesty of the place. At the same time I was amazed at how little people had to survive on and how resourceful that made them. I saw ropes being fabricated on an ingenious machine, home-made from old video tapes; the irrigation system on a farm I visited consisted of old tyres split to form drains, and used the water left over from washing. Just to give you an idea.

From wielding my rudimentary Spanish on the unsuspecting-but-accommodating fruit seller (and marvelling at the variety of fresh produce on his stall), to scrambling over sparse hillsides in search of exciting new plant life, I found Cuba to be an eye-opening experience. As I’m contemplating a sequel to The Tribe, I was particularly pleased to be able to fit in some research at the Taino museum and reconstructed village. Jokes about it taking our visit to end the decades-old US stand-off aside, I hope the newfound dialogue will have positive results for Cuba and her warm populace. Let’s hope both will keep their unsullied openess amidst the opportunities that political changes promise.

Cuban beach with azure sea golden sand and palm-style shelters