Lian Rafael began the first grade.

Since Saturday, he imagined his first day of school, while his mother and grandmother, with the support of his grandfather, put together the puzzle of Monday, 4 September, when this city was filled with school uniforms for the start of the 2023-2024 school year, as was the whole island.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- Not far from there, "At my other grandmother's and my dad's house, they made this for me," he says with his surprising intelligence and that loquacity that makes him a sociable and very communicative boy. He then touches his head and shows me his bald head. Lian Rafael Sánchez Mancebo arrived happily at the doors of the Rafael Martínez Martínez semi-boarding school, located in the Popular Council 18, in the Santos district, where he started first grade and began his first year of primary education.

Lian Rafael began the first grade.His joy was even greater when he met up with her friends from the Futuros Constructores childcare center. The new teacher is a sweetheart, said the parents of first B; and on Wednesday, with only a few hours left in the first week of the school year, the little students did not lose their enthusiasm. The classroom motivates them and is not "upside down."

Do you like your school?", I asked him between the giant steps he takes up the stairs to get home and the euphoria of recounting his day. Neither short nor lazy, scurrying around the living room of the flat, I heard a "Yes, Graciela". Then Dafne Mancebo Rodríguez, his mother, a doctor of stomatology, told me that he is doing very well in the classroom and is perfectly assimilating the extended hours until 4:00 in the afternoon.

Lian is one of the 180,000 pupils who are enrolled in the current school year, including adult education, a challenge from home to compensate for the lack of school materials, to support the school as much as possible with supplies, and to turn each day into a milestone of certainty, because according to the parents, "it is a challenge, but together we can make progress, what is an invincible problem is the heat and the sun. It's a challenge, but together we can make progress," said the parents.

Under an uncomfortable climate, the really important thing is that Lian and his group are happy; and the Balcón de Oriente (Cuban Eastern Balcony), with its awakening full of uniforms and chattering children and young people, does not have the grey-coloured routines and the silence of months ago. Classes have started, and the break is over... let's run for the future! That's the important thing.