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.
Well equipped kitchen.
Franco and his daughter.
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.
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
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.
When I travel to Cuba now, I like to go where few tourists go. In Trinidad, one area I prefer is what I call … up on the hill.
Up on the hill there are no paved roads, no quaint cobblestone streets, and few areas that don’t slope toward easier walking.
But, the people up here are just as nice and the photos are everywhere.
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.