Category Archives: Cuba 2016

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 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.

 

 

 

A Success Story – Part 1

It’s time to tell this story.

Fellow travelers and friends Kate, Pam and I met Tayluma in  January 2015 in Trinidad, Cuba.

She returned my wave when we were passing by her house so we stopped and she invited us in. She proceeded to give us an earful.

Cubans can get in trouble for being too friendly with tourists, especially inviting them into their homes, so it was a shock when she unloaded on us.

She was upset and crying, but fighting for her children. ” I don’t care who knows. My children should not have to live like this.”

She showed us everything:

Leaking roof

A toilet and a hole in the ground for a bathroom.

Empty refrigerator

Electric bill in arrears

The two girls were sleeping in one bed, feet to feet, with clothes piled up to make the mattress long enough.

Kitchen that was not sanitary.

Bad Wiring

Storing water to “flush” the toilet.

The children were precious. Well behaved, quiet, and intelligent.

I shed tears as we walked away and vowed to try to help.

The next day we returned with a fellow traveler to translate for us.

I brought a bag of bread and cookies that I was able to sneak out of the hotel breakfast buffet.

We photographed and listen to her story:

Her husband moved them into this house to take care of his dying uncle. When the uncle passed, the husband left town and Tayluma was left alone with her two girls and the house.

The immediate concern was the electric bill and a roof that leaked for about half the length of the house.

The problem was that our tour was leaving the next day.

We left her with money for the electricity and food.

I was able to establish e-mail contact with Tayluma. It was a dial-up connection and not very reliable and she had to walk to the internet business, rent a computer one for one cuc/ hr. and learn how to use it. Finally she emailed me. It was her lifeline.

I got all her information and set her with up an AIS debit card account.  We were then able to transfer money to her. At least we could keep the lights on and food in the house.

Part two – We repair the roof.    https://wp.me/p4fUlX-W9

 

The Presidential Limo

I wonder how many Americans have ever been this close to the Presidential limo. I don’t think one can get this close in the United States.

These photos were taken in 2016 during the U.S. President’s visit to Havana. I happened to be staying across the street.

Wide angle shot from just outside the doorway to my casa. The woman on the right is U.S. secret service.

I assume the man with the extra long backpack was also secret service. I was amazed at how relaxed all the U.S. personnel were, in comparison to the Cuban security force.

Cars filled the street ( San Rafael ) for as far as I could see and they all kept their engines running.

After jumping back and forth from one side of the street to the other, this woman said “You, SIR, are to get in one doorway and stay there”.  I went back to my balcony.

Check this post for the worst kept secret in Havana :

https://wp.me/p4fUlX-oM

 

 

“Who Holds The Key” – The Back Story

“Who Holds The Key” was a street shot taken in Centro Havana.

I stopped to look at the graphics painted on two huge metal garage doors when suddenly a leg appeared, then an arm, followed by the head of this young boy.

It was obvious that he was trying to slide out between the two chained doors. It was a tight squeeze. I was shooting the whole time and hoped to capture the entire escape act, but in the middle of a contortion he spotted me he spotted me and quickly retreated into the vacant lot.

Now I had to get him to trust me and come back to the gate. Once he realized that he was not in trouble, he relaxed enough for me to coax him back to the opening. I offered him a coin to come close enough for me to frame him and get a couple of images.

I kept this image for almost a year before I decided that it was worth the effort to process it for PPA competition. I have countless hours working to refine the composition, overlay textures on the background and the doors, also to dodge and burn select areas to maximize the impact.