Yosef is a 34-year-old tattoo artist from Centro Habana
His apartment is built on the roof of a three-story building. He lives better than most because he has a skill that is in demand.
A skinny stairway begins the trek to his apartment.
On the roof.
A typical bachelor’s habitat.
Oswal lives in the neighborhood where I always stay in Havana. When I see him on the street, he always tries to speak with me in English. One day his mother and father invited me into their home. The father spoke some English and wanted his son to learn. I emphasized how important it will be for Oswal’s future. In eight or ten years when he is looking for work, one of the many new hotels in Havana might hire him if he speaks another language. A restaurant or hotel job would give Oswal the opportunity to earn tips in the highly coveted tourist money. ( CUCs)
In October I brought a Spanish/English dictionary and told Oswal to practice and that I would check on him when I visited again.
Before I left for home, I received a nice message from his mother thanking me for encouraging her son to study:
“Hola Marco. Estoy muy agradecida por que gracias a usted Oswal se a interesado por el english.”
(“Hi Mark. I am very grateful that thanks to you Oswal was interested in the english language.”)
When I returned two months later I presented Oswal with a study guide.
I’ll visit whenever I get back to Havana and try to encourage him more. He’s young, and girls and cell phones will distract him, but at least he now has the opportunity to better himself.
Part – 6
The House Out Back
The House out back is where Imara, Juniel, and Libetsy live.
Everything is neat and clean.
Outdoor kitchen area.
Backyard where a some animals are raised.
Modest living arrangements.
The genuine smiles of mother and daughter.
Yuniel and Libetsy.
Part 4 –
Where They Live
Be sure to check out my previous series – Where They Live – http://wp.me/p4fUlX-zn
The main home where five live is a short walk from the house of Yoel.
The dining area.
One of the food preparation areas.
Pot holders and rags.
Dianelis at the other cooking area.
This “stove” uses charcoal that the family produces and sells to earn a few pesos to pay for electricity. Cooking with charcoal also saves on expensive bottled gas.
Congris in the making.
A motorized bicycle used to go to into town.
Another motor that needs to be rebuilt. I was surprised to see the brand name “Stihl”. It was easy for me to order new parts.
Note the bags of charcoal for sale.
Pumping water by hand.
A home-made spear gun used to “fish”.
These wires bring electricity to the home.
After visiting with the grandfather, we walked another 100 meters to the house of Yoel.
Yoel is 39 years old and is separated from his wife, but he still has strong feelings for her. I suspect they will reunite.
We were invited into his humble home.
After days in Havana, I was struck by the quiet solitude. No traffic. No Music. No one yelling for a friend on the third floor. Very peaceful. What a great place to relax and think.
The kitchen area.
A simple bench.
The painters are here.
The government is providing the paint and paying for painters. It’s an effort to put some “eyewash” on parts of Havana Vieja and Havana Centro. It’s all to make the city more appealing for the tourists, although many of the buildings are still in dire need of structural repair
I got caught peering down this long dark corridor from the sidewalk. He was sitting across the narrow street trying to sell some clothes. All he said was “come with me” or some such Spanish phrase. I followed him down the corridor until it opened up into a courtyard. He pointed to one of the doors at the top of the two sets of stairs and said “my house”. He wanted to show me where he lived, although we did not enter his dwelling. I also saw where his neighbors lived below and beside him, behind the maze of walls and doors that defined their own living space.
I never got his name.