This year’s craze in Santiago de Cuba for boys, both small and large, is flying kites (known there as cometas). On nearly every street there are boys flying their kites, some reaching incredible heights. Hardly any were shop-purchased, nearly all were home-made, using sticks for the frame, plastic from shopping bags as the material; and twine unpicked from rice sacks as the string.
It was a pleasure to see young lads getting hours of pleasure from something so simple and it reminded me of my own childhood, when we would play for hours on the streets with improvised toys made from available materials. For most kids in Santiago there are no computer games where they sit at home alone in front of a screen most of the day.
The downside is that the kites get snagged on the overhead wires and it is not always possible to retrieve them, meaning that many streets are decorated by overhead wires with bits of wood, plastic and twine flying from them.