Whenever I visit Havana, I always set aside one whole day to visit with this wonderful family on their farm.
They live about 45 km south of Havana, near San Jose de Las Lajas.
I’m treated like one of the family now.
I sit on the porch, relax in the quiet, breathe the fresh air, converse, and reflect on how fortunate I am to have these beautiful people as my friends.
I pass out gifts that I have brought: vitamins, poligrip, zantac, Kool-aid, underwater flashlight for the brother that spear fishes, crankshaft and piston for the motor on the bicycle, towels and soap, coffee, clothes for the two children and of course chupa chups.
I make a new list of things that I will try to bring next time: cold medicine, aspirin, and more vitamins for the children, sneakers and socks for the women, movies in Spanish, bandaids, neosporin, a knee brace, duct tape, cell phone ….. The list goes on and on.
The women always come up with something deliciously prepared. Congris, salad, and some kind of meat. I bring the Rum, cola, orange soda and, lately, chocolate from the U.S. for dessert.
The children usually want me to read to them. I read “The Cat in the Hat” (in English and Espanol). I read the English and Melany reads the Spanish, but I always tell her that next time she will read the English.
The water on the farm comes from a well via a hand pump. This water is needed for cooking, drinking, washing clothes, bathing, and flushing the toilet.
Lately, the old well pump has been breaking down regularly. It’s an American made pump, so it’s old. The casting is cracked and broken. The parts below ground have been welded and re-welded. Everything is wired together. Just last week the pump broke for the last time. A similar pump is impossible to obtain new and any used pump that might be found would surely have issues.
The neighbors have been donating water, but it’s 1/2 kilometer away and must be hauled in a horse-drawn cart.
The wife of the youngest brother on this farm finally e-mailed me and told me of their troubles (apparently the men were too proud to ask for help). Sometimes it takes a woman to get things done!
I was able to transfer enough money for them to purchase a submersible pump. (although the search is still on for a suitable size, I am assured that water will be flowing soon).
Again I wish to thank my small group of friends for their generous financial support and trust in me. These are all friends who appreciate the difficult task of survival in utter poverty.
Thank you Rob, Victoria, Louise, Kate, Susan, Pamela, Tracy, and Faye.
Check out the series:
Living Off The land