Tag Archives: Children

Yo Voto Si

Sunday, February 24th, the people of Cuba ratified the new constitution.

It was  a slam dunk.

“Are you voting yes? I would ask my friends.

“Of course” was the standard answer that accompanied the astonished look that I received.

The whole campaign was preceded by months of propaganda. Signs, billboards, and community organizers all urged people to participate in discussions and share their concerns ….. before voting “yes”.

Most of those who did not favor the new constitution simply did not vote. There were scant few who voted “no”.  Why take the chance of being singled out for retribution?

Voting places were set up according to one’s municipality.

School children were in their uniforms and helped.

As I understood it, there was not a secret ballot and anyone could check the sheets to see how their neighbor voted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Afternoon

A typical walk for me starts without a destination and without an agenda. At the first intersection, I decide almost subconsciously, which way to turn. I might see some interesting activity in one direction. Or, I might realize that I haven’t walked a certain street in a while. Of course, if I encounter a street that I think I haven’t been on before, I’ll choose that option.

When I’m in the right mood, I like to walk very slowly, stopping often to watch and see what is happening around me. I wonder where people are going, what they are doing, what they are buying, and what they are talking about. I want to know where they live and how they live.

Sometimes I feel badly for them, but often times I am impressed with their openness and honest good nature. People always ask about one’s family.

I make eye contact with people, hoping for a smile, a nod, a wave, or a few words.

I’m never disappointed.

These images were all made in one typical afternoon in Havana.

 

 

 

 

 

A Success Story – Part 4

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

 

 

 

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