Miguel and the Organ

I was walking and exploring the city of Camaguey, Cuba for the first time when I met my new friend Miguel. I stopped¬† at a cafeteria for a glass of fresh juice. He approached and asked if I would also buy him a juice. The juice was only two pesos (ten cents)… of course I did.

He’s a young guy, under thirty I would guess. I pegged him as a hustler. He pegged me as a yuma.¬† He was right. I was wrong.

We communicated a bit ( I hesitate to say talked because my Spanish still is not up to speed). Miguel claimed to have a day off from work ….. construction.

It was after noon and I was getting hungry.

I asked Miguel to take me to a cheap restaurant. He walked me past a couple of touristy places and I kept saying no. I wanted some real Cuban food. He finally understood and we entered a house with three tables set up in the front room. We both ate congris, salad, and meat for under 6 CUC total.

After lunch Miguel insisted on taking me on a tour of the nearby church where he described every statue of every saint. I was impressed by his knowledge.

After the church tour I wanted to head back to where we first met so I could easily find my way home. Miguel took me another way. He wanted to show me something special.

As we passed an open garage he pointed out an old organ. I quickly followed him inside and as I started to photograph the owner appeared. The old man never spoke. He proceeded to pull the organ from the wall, open the panels, and load a sheet of music. I learned that the organ was from the year 1910. As the old man cranked the handle, the sheet of music followed its course through the inner workings of this relic and music filled the garage. I photographed as quickly as I could, trying to get all the angles covered. I even had time to shoot some video.

I thanked the old man and gave him a few CUCs

Later when I reviewed my images I noticed that the old man’s expression never changed.