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.
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
Avarista is an 81-year-old living in Centro Havana. She tells us that she is former film star. Her screen name was Arri Teresa Bruzo.
Her apartment is hidden in the interior of one of the huge old buildings in Havana.
Like almost all the living spaces on the ground floor, the air is thick with the odor of mold and mildew.
Mercedes is a 78-year-old living with her daughter in Centro Habana who worked as a retail administrator. (manager)
Ninety-one year old Celistina has 7 children and 14 grandchildren.
She lives quite comfortably with one son on the fourth floor of a “modern” (circa 1960) apartment building in Centro Habana.
She is the grandmother of my friend Juan Carlos.
The little spark-plug named Luisa keeps her age a secret. She’s always talking and always asking for something. She lives with her daughter is a small two room apartment on San Miguel in Havana Centro.
I met Juan Carlos when I noticed him sitting next to a welder and, being a welder in my previous life, I tried to make conversation. Fortunately Juan Carlos’ English was better than my Spanish. He was waiting for someone to pick him up and take him to a job.
Juan Carlos fabricates doors, windows, and railings. What I would call ornamental iron work. In Havana many people have bars on windows and outer doors with padlocks for security. https://wp.me/p4fUlX-w1
Juan Carlos has become a good friend of mine over the last two years. He has let me photograph his apartment, taken me to meet his 92 year-old grandmother, let me photograph from the roof of his building, and introduced me to many people in his neighborhood.
Last year I purchased an electric grinder for him on the black market. Now he doesn’t have to borrow (rent) one when he has a job to do.
A modest, but clean and efficient kitchen.
A comfortable living area.
Stairway to a loft where his daughter and grandson sleep.
He keeps the welder in his bedroom.
Stories and photos of a dozen others in this series can be found here: https://wp.me/p4fUlX-AT