Tag Archives: friends

The Home of Rolando

Continued from ” A Tornado In Havana”

https://wp.me/p4fUlX-18X

Rolando saw us walking in the street and motioned to us. “Come into my home and see the damage”

 

He led us through his home where 12 people were living the night the tornado struck. Luckily, no one was injured here.

Most of the rooms were missing roofs.

 

Some of the rooms were missing walls that had been blown apart.

 

Things that were saved are now covered with plastic sheeting to protect them from afternoon showers.

 

Family members. Some still in shock.

 

Still managing to smile.

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 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

 

Libetsy

Libetsy is a precocious three-year old. She is the daughter of Yoel’s brother Tatico and his wife Aymara and live on the family farm outside of San Jose de Las Lajas.

  https://wp.me/p4fUlX-HH

On my last visit I brought for her an old trac phone. It does not function as a phone in Cuba, but it does hold music and games. Now she wouldn’t have to play with her father’s phone.

It also has a camera!

Didn’t she feel special taking photos of everyone!

She will steal your heart.

Romnis – Diez de Octubre

My new friend Romnis –  https://wp.me/p4fUlX-Tt – met me outside my casa and we set off for the Havana neighborhood “Diez de Octubre”. It was too far away to walk so Romnis waved down a taxi. Not a taxi in the usual sense. This was a Cuban taxi. The drivers own these old American cars and drive a certain route all day, much like a bus route. You pay a set price for the ride and tell the driver where you would like to get out. The price was 10 Cuban pesos (about 45 cents) each for the ride west and another 10 pesos each for the next ride to the south.

We have traveled many times since that day to photograph where tourists never go.

The Guitar

After one too many rums on another visit to Trinidad, Cuba, I heard myself promise again that I would bring a guitar for Hector.

Hector and I have been friends for over three years. He is the leader of a high energy group that plays their own versions of traditional and “Son” Cuban music.

Hector has never had his own guitar.  Instead, he had to rent one or use the “house” guitar at what ever restaurant the group was performing.

When Hector wrote to tell me that he and Yanet were marrying, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I purchased a guitar for my Cuban friend. It would be a wedding present. Having his own guitar would allow Hector to earn more money and be more independent.

Simple ceremony with a justice of the peace.

At the club before the wedding.

 

 

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