Tag Archives: poor

Where They Live – Franco

Franco is quite a character. Always moving and always talking, he  calls himself an importer. His store, where he sells religious articles, can be found on Calle Gervasio in Centro Havana.

 

Franco also has for sale many antiques that he has accumulated over the years.

A long hallway, exposed to the sky, leads to his apartment.

Modest accommodations.

Well equipped kitchen.

Franco and his daughter.

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

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.

 

 

 

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.