La Chivichana – New Word from a New Culture

My son was fortunate to spend a little over two weeks in Cuba with his father this summer. When he came back, darker, leaner but not thin, and much wiser, he could not suppress the joy and wonder of his experience.

They traveled and enjoyed the natural springs, lakes, cliff diving, city sights and beautiful beaches.  Where they stayed, my son player street soccer and marbles with the friendly neighborhood kids, activities he has never experienced here.  However, most of his exciting stories surround something called a Chivichana.

A Chivichana is described online as a kind of Cuban rough skateboard. When my son showed me pictures though, a better description is that of a go kart. Neighborhood kids have one of their own or a couple used by the group.

What is most fascinating to me and while he was there, to my son, was that the Chivichana is built from scratch by the kids themselves.  In a flurry of teamwork, woodworking, mechanical engineering, and incredible ingenuity, the kids he played with whipped one up on the spot!

Once completed, each child including my son, took turns racing it with kids from a rival neighborhood. They raced on the hilly streets, sometimes dodging cars or stopping to let  them pass. My heart raced as he told me the tale of his race, which included a donut! And I wasn’t even there!  He won another race going backwards! Another day, they decided they would race in pairs, so they modified their Chivichana to have a passenger seat. Amazing stuff.

Now that he’s back, he is looking forward to making a Chivichana of his own.

Article By Nuria Almeida

Photo By MyLifeStory

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