One of my best days in Cuba was hanging out in a central square in a small town called Holguin… just watching life go by. Children played there all day long, most accompanied by parents, others just dropping by for an afternoon of games.
I was particularly struck by the simplicity of it all. Kids were playing games like kick the can, chase and jump rope. One little boy was dragging a stick while another played with a rock. Most adults and children were snacking on timeless treats like popcorn, peanuts or chocolate. Such simple pleasures in life, reminding me of my own childhood.
That day made me reflect on how much things have changed over the years in American society.
With all the technology that bombards our everyday lives, it’s become increasingly difficult to disconnect and be present for neighborhood events. Not being a parent myself, I’m curious to know if neighborhood games even still exist? Capture the flag, tag or statue maker. Are kids still connecting with one another in this way or has texting replaced their human connection?
It also makes me wonder how much all of us, adults and children, are missing in terms of community. Families in the Holguin square were conversing, playing games, listening to music, and simply enjoying one anothers company. There was something authentically beautiful about the day and that experience, something truly pure I hadn’t felt since my early childhood.
One has to sadly wonder how much these things will change once Cuba catches up with the rest of the world. Sunday afternoons in their square may soon be replaced by the same technological devices we currently enjoy.
If you’re looking for a way to recapture some of those feelings from your childhood days, I highly recommend a Sunday afternoon in a Cuban square before its a thing of the past.