“I can assure you that we have never lacked the smile and the joy”, Rafael Cedeño Salazar, 26 years old.

Post by @CubanWindow

Translate From the Original post in Youth Rebel by Osviel Castro Medel

In the middle of the night, when the first daily thunders still do not ring, the city winks and whispers secrets; comes to tell him, figuratively, that admires him.

The city often seen him beat the rooster clock and has been dazzled by his ability to sweat, sweat, the daily impurities.

But Rafael Cedeño Salazar does not stop to think of the imaginative compliments of the city or  the people, and with his 26 years makes disappear every waste, big or small, that finds in his step.

“I am always in my work, like the rest of my brigade. We are 11 and we have a tremendous sequence; we are always there, on top of the park, ” he said when we start the interview  in reference to the Revolution Square in Bayamo Province, Cuba.

In the park it has its “base of operations”, which extend to the Plaza del Hymn to the well known Paseo General García, and he is happy seeing the corners of the historic center with admirable brightness, and feels miserable when he observes how not a few persons throw garbage anywhere.

“You have to be calm, and not to be angry with the bad habits of the negligent, but it would be good if all people were aware of the importance of cleanliness. I’ve seen professionals and others who have a college degree throw the trash a meter from the basket, ” says this boy who has been a sweeper for a year.

So we do not have a culture of cleanliness ?

There are people with education and culture, but others …… I have watched many connected to the internet that practically throw the rubbish up by not getting up and throwing them in the basket.

Have you ever imagined yourself doing this work ?

No, it’s the truth. But I was unemployed for a time after working first as a bricklayer and then as a vector operator.
A neighbor who works here told me about the possibility to get a work as a street sweeper and I went to the Ministry of Labor; that day I woke up earlier, they offered me other works at the Construction but I decided on this. I do not regret  

What is the most difficult for a street sweeper ?

Getting up so early in the morning. We are divided into two brigades, one week we work approximately from five am to one pm, and the other from one am to nine pm. This morning shift is difficult, because you have to overcome the dream and get up at four in the morning; You can not go to bed late either.
… And the sun. When you are angry, and this it is almost always, it overwhelms you, and sometimes even stresses you because you can not get rid of it.

Are some brats harassed by them ?

No, I’ve never had any problems. I always ask permission to have the bicycle on the curb, or to the one in an area where he is working … always with the greatest respect.

At first you were afraid or doubtful ?

Yes, I was shy. I thought I could lower my self-esteem, but no, my mother gave me a lot of support, I started to get back and now I feel very comfortable.

Why do you repeat always that are happy that you are happy with what you do ?

I am useful to society, I have an honest job, I earn 690 pesos a month, which is not much but it helps … Besides, here I have my wife.

They say she’s your boss.

She runs the brigade and is called Daneyis Rodríguez Tomas, is 40 years old and we have been together since 2015. His job is not sweeping, but she likes to help his companions and he stands next to us many times.

Give me an anecdote.

A couple from the Cienfuegos Province, a few months ago was visiting for the first time in Bayamo and we were told, in other words, that they had never seen a park as beautiful as ours. And that beauty was the way we cleaned it.

You have an abundant lexicon.

I am a good reader, everything that falls by hand I read it. I only studied until 12 grade, but reading has contributed a lot to the vocabulary.

What else do you like?

I am a young man like the rest; I like music, to watch sports and from time to time, when I am happy, to have a beer.

Tell me about the stimulation for your work.

I think that we need to improve on that; I do not speak only about material stimulation, it can be morally as well, I think.

How is a day of work on your brigade ?

We do not get tired of making stories and chirping Andres, who is 23 years old and we tell him the Lesser. There are people in the brigade who have been in this profession for more than 20 years and I admire them a lot. We are a family, so when someone is missing for some reason we make their area among all. I can assure you that we have never lacked the smile and the joy.