Tag Archives: friends

Where They Live – Juan Carlos

 

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

Motosierra Update

Motosierra Update

I had the opportunity to once again visit the farm of the family of Yoel.
I was, of course anxious to see how the new chainsaw was working out for them. Yoel says that the work is almost fun now and saves him many hours of swinging an ax. Yuniel, the brother of Yoel is now more eager to help too.
When I return next I will bring another chain and a spare spark plug.

It starts easily.

Even Yuniel like to work with it.

Yoel starts a soup by searing the meat.

Home-made salsa added.

Starting the vegetables.

Final slow cooking over a charcoal fire.

Delicious!

A swing made from an old hose.

Libetsy with her grandfather’s hat.

Simple decorations.

 

 

 

 

Motosierra

Living Off The Land – Part 6

Motosierra.

…..continued from: Making Charcoal –

https://wp.me/p4fUlX-Jo

Yoel told me that he could save 3 or 4 days work if he had a chainsaw. I had already realized this when I saw the ax beside the pile of logs.

Upon returning to Havana I started to investigate the possibility of purchasing a chainsaw. I hate to see anyone work harder than they have to.

I asked my “Cuban daughter” Sussy, where we could buy a chainsaw. “Very expensive in the store” she said. “But, I will look on the internet”.

It seems as though there is a sort of Craigslist/E-Bay available if one knows where to look. She found several, with photos, in Havana. Capitalism at its best. They even deliver!

Brand new. Still in the box. Just the right size. A deal was struck.

I called Yoel and with some translation help, asked when he could come to Havana because I had a “special gift for his family.” He was able to come two days later and I presented him the “Motosierra”.

I explained to him as I will explain to you now, that this gift was not from me alone. I have a very small group of close friends who travel with me to Cuba. We have met good people there and want to help improve their lives. These friends are not able to travel to the island as often as I am, but they provide financial, emotional, and moral support to the wonderful families that we have met. I am merely an agent.

I want to recognize and thank Louise, Kate, Pam, Susan, and Robert for all they do to help our friends. This is only one example. The list is too long to detail all the purchases and construction projects they have been involved in and all the goodwill they have spread. Thank you all.

Photo by Robert Ortiz

Photo by Robert Ortiz

 

Living Off the Land

Part 3 –

Meet The Family

 

Noel is the father of Yoel

Noel and his granddaughter Libetsy.

Repairing the child’s doll.

The three brothers, Yoel, Jorge Luis, and Juniel with their father.

I kept thinking of “Bonanza”

Imara is the wife of Juniel and Dianelis is Yoel’s sister.

Juniel and daughter Libetsy.

Imara and Libetsy.

Dianelis prepared congris over a charcoal fire.

Lunch – Fried chicken, congris, aguacate, cucumbers, yucca, fresh guava juice.

Delicious!

Take My Picture

Sometimes people want you to take their photograph.

They may yell “foto, foto” or they may give you the two finger salute as they smile and pose. Of course you’re pegged as a tourist at first sight, so they assume you have money. Some ask for a CUC, but as often as not, they just want to talk.

This man is 83 years old. He sells an assortment of plumbing fixtures out of his doorway on the street Maximo Gomez (Monte).

I liked the light on this young man’s face so I offered him some gum.

These teenagers were not really in the mood for a photo, but the girl in the foreground on the left spoke English. She was visiting from Miami and was showing off for her friends by chatting with me.

This rowdy bunch was drinking at 10:30 am. I walked past them as they shouted “foto” so I turned and made this image. I did not stop.

This gentleman waved me over as I was passing. He made a motion to indicate I should take his photo. I made three or four images and tried to speak with him, but he never stopped laughing.

Showing off.