Cardboard

Pushing a home-made cart with used roller bearings for wheels, this man covers a lot of ground collecting cardboard for recycling. I’m sure it doesn’t pay much, but in Cuba every little bit helps.

On this day, I found him almost 3  kilometers from his home in Centro Habana. Keep in mind that many streets are not good and his cart does not roll well.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Somewhere under this pile of ropes, strings and flattened boxes is the cart he pushes daily.

 

Regla

Regla Is one of the many neighborhoods, or barrios, of Havana.

It’s across the bay from where the cruise ships dock. The easiest way to get there is on the ferry that runs back and forth all day long. For five pesos you can cross the bay in minutes.

The port of Regla. This building is in no better condition than any other building in Havana.

People walk the streets and try to stay cool.

Cheap rum and free conversation.

People shop for fruits and vegetables.

One of the attractions is Colina Lenin with its bronze likeness of the dictator embedded in the stone wall atop the hill. A series of steps lead to the top.  An August noon-time hike will test one’s stamina.       ( there is also a road)

Even the monument to communism is crumbling.

See a previous post on the hill of Lenin:

https://wp.me/p4fUlX-Cq

 

Where They Live – Cira

Cira lived in a rough part of Havana, Barrio Cerro. I say lived because I have learned that she and her 9 year-old son escaped the island. She sold the two room apartment and everything in it and paid for passage to a country in South America. She was upset with her circumstances ….. no job, no money, no hope for her son’s future.

It takes a lot of courage to leave one’s life behind and attempt to start over in a different land. I wish her well.

Someone else will live here now. Probably happy to have a solid roof overhead.

Basically, the apartment is two rooms and a bath with no running water.

A success Story – Part 5

Thanks to generous support from my small group of friends, Kate, Louise, Pam, Matt, Susan, and Robert we were able to continue to support this wonderful family.

Over the past three years other necessities were purchased for this family.

We purchased three new beds and mattresses.

A new semi-automatic washing machine (no more hand-wringing the wet clothes) and paint for the walls. We have also purchased and installed new windows and doors.

The youngest girl needed to have her adenoids removed. This  entailed a costly trip to the hospital which was 60 km away and a stay of two days. The expense of such a trip for the average person is beyond their means. We were able to help.

Smiles

Tayluma has a talent for manicure. It helps her to earn a little money. Whenever I visit, I bring supplies for her.

 

 

 

 

A Success Story – Part 4

Rebuilding  the kitchen.

Because we are able to transfer money to Tayluma, she now did all the buying of materials and the hiring of the workers. This greatly improved her confidence and self-esteem too.

There was no way to clean this area to make it sanitary. We worried about the health of the mother and children.

The wiring was a mess.

A new counter was constructed and tiled.

We bought her new cookware, hot plates, and replaced the refrigerator.

The house was completely rewired.

The children are growing and much happier too.

Many thanks to my friends Kate, Louise, Pam, Matt, Susan, and Robert for providing encouragement, support, and money to help this poor family.

Next – Other improvements

 

 

 

A Success Story – Part 3

Many thanks to my friends Kate, Louise, Pam, Matt, Susan, and Robert for providing encouragement, support, and money to help this poor family.

We build a bathroom.

Before, the toilet had to be flushed with a bucket of water from  these barrels.

Construction has already started here. The piping is in place for the new sink, shower, and toilet.

The shower.

A water tank was installed on the roof.

Outside faucets were added for laundry.

Cell phone images sent to me of the tiling of the bathroom:

Part of the deal when hiring workers is that one has to feed them.

On my next visit I get to see the completed work. For the first time in their lives they have a shower (with HOT water) and a modern bathroom.

Before painting the finished work.

On-demand electric hot water shower.

Next – We rebuild the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Success Story – Part 2

Next Visit – October 2015

I came alone.

I brought as many of the necessities as I could, but suitcases fill rapidly. At least this family knew that my friends and I cared.

On this visit I surveyed the roof and discovered that the concrete slab needed large areas to be chipped out and re-poured. I made a mistake by hiring the son of another Cuban friend and he started after I returned to the U.S. He meant well, but I quickly realized that he was in over his head. Trying to do this long distance was not going to work. I had Tayluma take over the hiring and paying of the new workers. The money was gone and the work had to be redone, but at least now, there were quality men on the job and Tayluma was making her own decisions.

With the re-work and shortage of materials in general, the roof job took over six months. Most of the materials had to be purchased on the black market. Whenever sacks of concrete  became available it was a bidding frenzy to see who would get to buy them. The same was true for sand, aggregate, and the delivery service. But persistence paid off.

At least it was now dry inside the house.

Many thanks to my friends Kate, Louise, Pam, Matt, Susan, and Robert  for providing encouragement, support, and money to help this poor family.

Next – We build a bathroom.

 

 

 

Cuba