A Guajiro’s Cosmos
To rural schools in the Cuban countryside, the revolution’s youth is sent away from their familiar terrain for the purpose of acquiring local and experience-based knowledge. While in the 1960s the more practical reasons for such a systemized stint related to the nation’s agricultural demands that necessitated a larger and more productive workforce, the theoretical justification for the combined manual and intellectual labor was found in Marx, Engels, Lenin, and, of course, the nineteenth-century thinker glorified by the revolution, José Martí. Such time away from home, despite, within the country, does not always guarantee the solicited social outcomes, as Wendy Guerra reveals in her vignette “Olga ya no es nombre ruso” (Olga is no longer a Russian name).1 Accompanied by a cousin who needs to retrieve her student records before departing from her homeland with her new foreign husband, the narrator observes two young girls kissing each other in front of the institutional building of the rural Pre universitario (grades 10, 11, and 12).
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