On a dank March night in deepest West Yorkshire, some members of a local youth group were talking about Cuba. They had been to an international camp near Havana the previous Christmas, and were showcasing a film they had made, documenting their visit.
The film itself reflected the young people who had made it, brash and vibrant with a relentless, loud score, full of the scenes and images which had made an impact on them.
There were the smiling faces of their new Cuban friends, the football match, the inventively patched up classic American cars, the wonderful colonial architecture of Havana. And of course the audience, (mums and dads, brothers and sisters, councillors and youth leaders) cheered and whooped whenever their loved one appeared on the screen.
The voiceover commentary, also recorded by the young people, indicated a keen curiosity at the contradictions that shape Cuban life. “How can life go on in the face of such a crushing blockade?” “What makes Cubans our age so passionate and proud about their country?” And the inevitable, “Why are they so much better at dancing than we are?”
But it was when the film ended and the young people answered questions, that the meeting came to life. All spoke of the warmth and friendship they had met everywhere. And get this. How the speeches and talks arranged for them by older Cubans were quite interesting!
One councillor, making little attempt to conceal his dislike of Cuba, asked...”Tell us the best thing and the worst thing about this trip.”
After a brief group discussion a spokesman stepped forward. “The worst thing wor cold showers every morning. The best thing wor’t generosity o’t people”.