Tag Archives: Where They Live

Tobacco Farming – Orlando

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.

 

Yo Voto Si

Sunday, February 24th, the people of Cuba ratified the new constitution.

It was  a slam dunk.

“Are you voting yes? I would ask my friends.

“Of course” was the standard answer that accompanied the astonished look that I received.

The whole campaign was preceded by months of propaganda. Signs, billboards, and community organizers all urged people to participate in discussions and share their concerns ….. before voting “yes”.

Most of those who did not favor the new constitution simply did not vote. There were scant few who voted “no”.  Why take the chance of being singled out for retribution?

Voting places were set up according to one’s municipality.

School children were in their uniforms and helped.

As I understood it, there was not a secret ballot and anyone could check the sheets to see how their neighbor voted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t Live Without Water

Whenever I visit Havana, I always set aside one whole day to visit with this wonderful family on their farm.

They live about 45 km south of Havana, near San Jose de Las Lajas.

I’m treated like one of the family now.

I sit on the porch, relax in the quiet, breathe the fresh air, converse, and reflect on how fortunate I am have these beautiful people as my friends.

 

I pass out gifts that I have brought: vitamins, poligrip, zantac, Kool-aid, underwater flashlight for the brother that spear fishes, crankshaft and piston for the motor on the bicycle, towels and soap, coffee, clothes for the two children and of course chupa chups.

I make a new list of things that I will try to bring next time: cold medicine, aspirin, and more vitamins for the children, sneakers and socks for the women, movies in Spanish,  bandaids, neosporin, a knee brace, duct tape, cell phone ….. The list goes on and on.

The women always come up with something deliciously prepared. Congri, salad, and some kind of meat. I bring the Rum, cola, orange soda and, lately, chocolate from the U.S. for dessert.

The children usually want me to read to them. I read “The Cat in the Hat” (in English and Espanol). I read the English and Melany reads the Spanish, but I always tell her that next time she will read the English.

The water on the farm comes from a well via a hand pump. This water is needed for cooking, drinking, washing clothes, bathing, and flushing the toilet.

Lately, the old well pump has been breaking down regularly. It’s an American made pump, so it’s old. The casting is cracked and broken. The parts below ground have been welded and re-welded. Everything is wired together. Just last week the pump broke for the last time.  A similar pump is impossible to obtain new and any used pump that might be found would surely have issues.

The neighbors have been donating water, but it’s 1/2 kilometer away and must be hauled  in a horse-drawn cart.

The wife of the youngest brother on this farm finally e-mailed me and told me of their troubles (apparently the men were too proud to ask for help). Sometimes it takes a woman to get things done!

I was able to transfer enough money for them to purchase a submersible pump. (although the search is still on for a suitable size, I am assured that water will be flowing by the end of the week).

Again I wish to thank my small group of friends for their generous financial support and trust in me. These are all friends who appreciate the difficult task of survival in utter poverty.

Thank you Rob, Victoria, Louise, Kate, Susan, Pamela, Tracy, and Faye.

Check out the series:

Living Off The land

https://wp.me/p4fUlX-HH

 

The Home Of Jose

Continued from : A Tornado In Havana

https://wp.me/p4fUlX-18X

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.

The Home of Rolando

Continued from ” A Tornado In Havana”

https://wp.me/p4fUlX-18X

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.