By Haydée León Moya
August 4, 2009 00:42:10 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cecilia González and her daughter Alioska opened their purses almost at the same time. They are standing in front of the cashier of a glistening laundry on Ayestaran Street in Havana. “It’s 77 pesos”, the employee says. And the young girl is the first one to extend her hand and pay.
Outside we heard this dialogue between the young girl and the lady:
– It’s a little bit expensive, isn’t it, “mi’ja?”
– No Mom, I think the price is right, because neither of us had to do it.
– But, will we be able to do it twice a month?
– Sure… sometimes what we don’t have is time, or detergent…
Zelmira Ramírez, laundry manager, also heard this conversation, and reached the same conclusion they did. If you don’t have to buy detergent, nor spend electricity at home, it’s worth it. If they hand in the dirty clothes, go to work and pick them up on the same day when they come back home, and pay in “pesos”, it’s really worth it, mi’jita!
Then, the experienced laundry worker, comments, “You cannot compare these machines with the clothes rippers called ‘Aurika’”.
“Well, they were also a great help”, the lady says, and leaves pleased.
The manager informs us they work from 7 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays from 8:30 a.m. at 12:30 p.m. The price for washing and drying depends on weight, but ironing is charged by piece. “It’s a little more expensive, because compared to washing and drying, it consumes more electricity. We also have a very good new sewing machine in case a hem or some other stitches need sewing”, comments Zelmira.
Arnold Díaz, a 20 year-old boy who is already in love with the ironing machine he operates, says he also irons at home. He likes to do this job and he is not planning to leave. But, he thinks wages should be a bit higher so people wouldn’t leave looking for better paid jobs elsewhere.
People are thankful for the appearance of several remodeled laundries in different ‘barrios’ of the city. They have used places that already existed but hadn’t been repaired in more than 15 years.
Eduardo Tomé Consuegra, provincial director of commercial services in the capital, told JR that 15 laundries were reopened in Havana. Nine of these have been equipped with totally new and automated technology. The equipment includes five or seven washing machines, three or four dryers and an ironing machine or “planchín”. The equipment was bought in Spain at a cost of 70,000 dollars per module.
He said that in most of these restored facilities there is a payment system that stimulates workers and guarantees the service quality. He also said that the new modules will soon be found in all city units.
Tome said repairs have been made thanks to the cooperation of other provinces, especially with equipment installation, and to unit workers zeal in construction work. In this way, little by little, they have saved units that provided this type of service from dilapidation.
Mirurgia Ramírez Santana, national director of Service in the Ministry of Internal Trade, explains that 1,300,000 dollars were invested in 2008 to recover these basic services. The money was used to purchase 20 modules, which we described before, spare parts and maintenance service from a prominent Spanish laundry chain.
She reported that despite economic limitations and that the State subsidizes 60 per cent of this service, 32 laundries have been remodeled through out the country. A budget was approved to purchase 11 more modules, because the goal is that at least one new module is installed in every province before the end of the year.