We met Orlando quite by chance early one morning while we were photographing. After introductions he invited us back to his farm to photograph.
Now, Orlando is a businessman as well as a farmer. He caters to tourists, providing horseback rides, guide service, and tours of his farm. We all knew this, but he was such a nice guy and the photo-ops were great. Besides, it was only 8:00 am and the light was good. What photographer would want to go on a tour at noontime?
We walked back to his house and went inside.
We were offered coffee.
Orlando lit a small wood fire
Then got to work grinding some beans.
His mother, Marta, took over in the kitchen.
She put on quite a show smoking a cigar and boiling the water…..
…..and making the coffee.
The coffee was good!
Next, we had the cigar rolling demonstration.
One for me.
Of course we bought some cigars and even some guayabita rum.
Well, if you’re an eight year old boy ……
You can jump over puddles.
Float your flip-flops.
Decades after the revolution many people still lack basic necessities, like water that’s fit to drink.
In cities, the years of neglect result in pipes, valves, pumps, and tanks that are cracked, corroded and leaking. When water does arrive, it is with little pressure and often has a foul odor. Apparently chlorination is unreliable as well.
I don’t know if anyone officially declares the water unsafe to drink, or for that matter, who declares the delivered water potable.
Always a problem in Trinidad, Cuba: https://wp.me/s4fUlX-agua
San Jose, Cuba
Continued from : A Tornado In Havana
Just down the street from Rolando, we met Jose who also wanted to show us the tornado damage to his home.
Jose had worked laboriously to remove all the rubble from his home, but we could see where walls were missing.
Many of the rooms were now open to the elements.
Continued from ” A Tornado In Havana”
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.
What else can happen to the good people of Havana? …. a tornado!
On the evening of 2 February, 2019 a tornado formed and touched down in Diez de Octobre. It then raced across Luyano, Regla, and Guanabacoa; all poor barrios of Havana. Three persons lost their lives and almost 300 were injured.
My small group of travelers and I were there one week after the tragic event.
While the government had done a reasonably good job of restoring power and clearing the streets, little was being done to help the people who had significant losses. In fact, it was the churches, not the government who took care of the people. Soup kitchens were set up to prepare donated food, donated clothes were passed out, and shelter was provided those who had lost everything.
Clearing the streets.
These men were salvaging parts from this smashed car.
The biggest problem was wooden roofs that offered no structural support. Once the roofs blew away, walls then collapsed either inward or outward.
Of course many concrete roofs collapsed too.
The help offered by the government was to make construction materials available at 1/2 cost. Loans were also offered at reduced rates. Only those families who had money saved could afford to start rebuilding. The average family could not afford to purchase blocks and cement and sand.
Next: We are invited into the home of Rolando, where 12 people were living the night the tornado struck.
Cira lived in a rough part of Havana, Barrio Cerro. I say lived because I have learned that she and her 9 year-old son escaped the island. She sold the two room apartment and everything in it and paid for passage to a country in South America. She was upset with her circumstances ….. no job, no money, no hope for her son’s future.
It takes a lot of courage to leave one’s life behind and attempt to start over in a different land. I wish her well.
Someone else will live here now. Probably happy to have a solid roof overhead.
Basically, the apartment is two rooms and a bath with no running water.