Category Archives: Where They live

Where They Live – Two Sisters

The Varonas are two sisters that live in two houses in a small village far outside the city of Holguin, Cuba.

L. and son Cristian.

Corrugated steel panels for roofing is typical.

The door in the distance is the outhouse and has no running water.



M. lives on the same dirt road a few houses away.

The sisters wash clothes together because there is only one washing machine.

The white rectangular unit next to the red barrel is an old Soviet washing machine. It is increasingly difficult to find repair parts and new Chinese models cost over 250 cuc.


Proud people, the women keep their houses neat and clean.

Where They Live – Two Brothers

While exploring a dirt road on the distant outskirts of Trinidad, Cuba my fellow travelers and I were waved into the homestead of Antonio and Jose Manuel Verde. These two brothers wanted to share their hospitality and show us around their farm.


Antonio did most of the talking, explaining when the mangoes would be ready to pick and guiding us through all the different crops that they harvest.

Cooking with charcoal.

Jose Manuel made us some of their home-grown coffee.




The Way To San Jose

My friend Yoel was in Havana for a few days working on the roof of his sister’s house. He invited me back to the family farm (  with him when he returned home. He insisted that we travel economically, like a Cuban.

To travel the 48 km to San Jose de Las Lajas from Havana like an average Cuban would, you first have to get to where the Taxi Collectivos pick up passengers for San Jose. You can walk or take a Cuban taxi for 10 pesos (CUP).

We sat in the back of this “Jeep” in seats that faced each other.

The taxi collectivos that go to San Jose are large trucks that hold 12 – 20 people and they don’t leave until they are full.

This was our actual ride.

While waiting to leave Havana we had to sit with the sun streaming through the windows and beating down on the roof. Others had boarded before us and taken all the seats on the shady side of the truck.

A few seconds of the bumpy ride.

The parking area for the taxis is next to the train station near the center of town.


The farm of Yoel’s family is another 8 km south. We waited 20 minutes (in the shade) for this bus to come. It dropped us off 500 meters from our destination.

Total travel time – two hours. (one way)

I think often about Enoel, the father of Yoel, and his battle with kidney stones. He had to make this trip to the hospital in Havana several times over the course of two months. The last few times he had a tube coming out of his back to drain fluid into a collection bag.

More on that story in another post.