Cuba has a Cholera problem. Little kids are asking for hand sanitizer for gifts.
Camilo, my 7-year old grandson in Cuba, has never been shy about asking for presents – especially when he knows I’m heading to Havana from that big shopping mall 90 miles away. His usual list includes a massive bag of M&M peanut candy, additions to what’s become a pretty pricey collection of Schleich resin animals, and goofy gags second-grade boys find funny, such as hand buzzers or that classic snake-in-a-can. When Camilo got on the phone with me last weekend, he only rattled off one item.
“Aba,” (that’s what he calls me–short for “abuela”, which is “grandma” in Spanish), “bring me soap.”
“Soap? You want soap?” I repeated, convinced I must have heard him wrong.
“Si”, he insisted. “Jabon!”
Now he has me worried that I need to make an emergency supply-run for detergent, shampoo, dishwashing soap and other basics. The last time soap was in short supply in Cuba was in the 1990s but, if this kid is asking for soap, the situation must be dire. He’s about as germaphobe as your average stray puppy. Like a lot of little boys, he needs to be reminded that taking a shower means actually standing under the water.Camilo, however, didn’t want just any soap. He was looking for what he calls “the soap that melts.” He wanted me to bring him an alcohol-based instant hand sanitizer.Then he made it clear why. “Aba, there’s cholera here,” he said.As it turns out, Camilo had spilled the beans a full 72 hours before the Cuban Health Ministry issued a formal communiqué on what had been rumored since the start of the year — cholera had surfaced in the city of Havana, home to 2.2 million people.
RightWingFeather sends us what Cuba has for Cholera Treatmen
The announcement explained that 51 new cases of cholera had been diagnosed in the Cuban capital along with a spike in the number of people suffering from “diarrheal diseases.”