Tag Archives: people

A Simple Pen

 

There is no breeze. It’s the middle of the afternoon. It’s hot and humid. It’s the tropics, after all.

I stopped to talk with three ladies selling “refresco” out of a huge blue tank on wheels. The colored and flavored liquid they dispensed resembled unset Jell-O or, to date myself, Za-Rex. People brought their own bottles and paid a few pesos for the sticky, sweet syrup.

Two of the ladies were fanning themselves. I said to the other woman that she also needed a fan. When she replied that she didn’t even have a fan at home, I half jokingly said “Let’s go. I’ll buy you one”. I could not image trying to sleep without circulating some air.

She immediately took me up on my offer. It was almost two hours later before we found a fan. We walked in a huge circle from the west end of Centro Havana to Old Havana and back  before we stumbled on an out-of-the-way store that had new fans.

I thought she was going to cry when I presented the box to her.

Looking through her bag she said “I have nothing to give you, but please take my pen”

That pen now sits on my desk.

That pen reminds me of the struggles of every day life some people face.

That pen reminds me daily of how fortunate I am.

 

 

 

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 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.

Un baño

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.

Pig Pen.

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.

Living Off The Land

Part 2

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.