An established part of the school year in Cuba is the annual trek to the countryside to take part in agricultural projects.
An established part of the school year in Cuba is the annual trek to the countryside to take part in agricultural projects. Recently, one band of youth workers set off to take part in citrus-planting programme.
SYNOPSIS: Students in Cuba join the official Youth Workers Army, divided across the nation into battalions and companies. Each company is given a special task for its work-year, and spends about four months on it in work combined with studies. Following an initial briefing from Youth Army officials, students set off into the countryside to complete their tasks.
This is the Number Eight battalion of the Youth Workers Army. Its task this year was to load, transport, unload and plant fourteen thousand citrus trees over 5,000 hectares (about 12,000 acres) in the Victoria de Giron region in Matanzas province. Agriculture is considered important in Cuba, with Prime Minister Fidel Castro himself as President of the National Institution of Agrarian reform. The institute is one of three major agricultural agencies developing the nation's land.
The Youth Army had its foundations laid ten years ago, when students and teachers spent a month on collective farms combining work with studies under the motto 'Production and Promotion'. The idea came from the teachings of Lenin, who said: 'It is not possible to imagine the ideal of a future society if productive work is not included as part of the education of the new generation'. Youth Army workers like the Number Eight battalion are inspected every two weeks to asses their rate of productivity.