The western province of Pinar Del Rio in Cuba is noted for producing some of the finest cigar tobacco. The little town of Vinales is a favorite destination of mine.
In late January and early February the tobacco is harvested by hand.
The leaves only have a short span of optimal quality. A few days one way or another can make a huge difference. It takes skill to know which leaves to cut and when.
Of course, all the work is done by hand.
A razor sharp hook-knife is used to lop off the chosen leaves just below a split in the stalk.
This allows the cuttings to hang freely over a pole. Later the poles are stacked in a barn to dry and cure.
On the distant outskirts of Trinidad, Cuba, my fellow travelers and I discovered a group of eight women making baskets. One woman, obviously the boss, invited us into the old cattle barn and allowed us to photograph.
This woman was stripping the stalks in half lengthwise.
Bundles of material ready to weave.
Working near a window for the light.
This woman never looked up from her work. Not knowing who we were, I think she was a bit afraid to stop.
After a couple of hours wondering I found myself near the oil-fired power plant in Havana. As in the U.S., many of these old plants have beautiful architecture so I got as close as I could.
Title on the sign: “Advice from the commander-in-chief”
As I rounded the corner I realized there was some repair work in progress.
Workers were replacing tubular air pre-heater modules and the old sections were being cut up on the ground.
New modules and duct-work were placed where the crane could pick them up.
I wanted to get a few images of the workers hanging on the side of the boiler house, but numerous security guards waved me away.
They don’t eat carrots out of your hand.
They don’t sleep in barns.
They don’t sport fancy saddles.
Most horses in Cuba are truly beasts of burden.
They plow fields and pull wagons and carts loaded with everything from people to bricks to water to food.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him …. swim.
While walking and photographing with Romnis ( https://wp.me/p4fUlX-Tt ) in Managua, Cuba, this gentleman approached us to chat. After a few minutes he said a prayer for us. Romnis then pulled out his phone and read a prayer back to him. Wonderful people.
I never know what activity I’ll find on Calle Salud in Habana Centro.
These gentlemen were preparing to re-silver a mirror.
If you have learned a skill, you’ll never be out of work. This is especially true in Cuba.
I’ve discovered several shops where ornamental iron work is fabricated. Skilled workers make custom door and window pieces for added home security and decoration.