The months I spent living in Cuba were some of the best of my life. Someday I hope to share more about our life in Cuba. Today, though, I want to share some photos of the time I spent in Cuba in November of 2012. In all of my trips to Cuba, I had never stayed with our close friends. Pastor Lorenzo, his wife Zulema and their four children are like family to me and I really wanted the opportunity to spend some time with them, experiencing their everyday lives. So, our family stayed in Havana for a week for the national convention and various business. Jimmie left with the girls, and I stayed four extra days just to be able to spend time in their home. These are the photos from the time I spent there. I hope you enjoy these insights into Cuban life and take time to read the captions!
This was taken a couple of days before Jimmie took the girls home. Jimmie is with Dani, our pastor friend who also serves as a translator when we need one. He has a machete and a coconut in his hand. He had just cut it down from the tree behind them and used the machete to chop off the shell.
I can’t remember the name of this man. He is a neighbor of Lorenzo and Zulema and attends their church. He uses their property to house his goats. One of the goats belongs to Zulema as well. Every morning he showed up at about 7 a.m. to take care of the goats and help Lorenzo with his work around the house. At some point during the day, he left with four goats in hand to take them on a walk through the busy streets of their barrio. It was quite a sight!
I love this photo for so many reasons. He looks so Cuban to me. Goats are hilarious creatures to me in general. There are underwear hanging from the clothesline for all to see. My towel that I used all week is hanging to dry on the right. They also have YHVH = Jesus painted on their rusty pen for the animals. As we always say, “Estámos en Cuba!”
Meet Zulema. I love this photo of her. She has her broom made from dried-out, fallen limbs. Each morning after the kids left for school, she brushed the leaves and debris off of her “patio.” Her patio is the dirt you see behind her.
These are two beautiful and special children, Abdias and Sarai. A generous pastor from North Carolina gave a laptop to Pastor Lorenzo. The kids love playing games on it and spend a lot of their free time doing just that.
Zulema is at work in her kitchen here. The water is frequently shut off, so you never really know if water will come out of that faucet when you turn it on. The bucket behind her stores water for such occasions. Here she is rinsing rice before cooking it.
One of the reasons I love Cuba is because it is so GREEN! The tropical climate makes for beautiful foliage and gorgeous flowers. Here you see some plants Zulema planted to beautify their patio. The bench on the left is very sad. They utilize everything, though, and won’t throw it away. Also notice the rocker in the background. Over half of the plastic is gone on the seat of the chair. Let me just tell you, it is not a comfortable seat!
Lorenzo has quite a bit of land. He has had some help getting the tools and seed necessary to farm a little. When I was there, they were just getting started. He had some help from two men from his church. I love this photo. Cuban farmers work. I don’t know of a more exhausting job than farming in the tropical sun. I admire them so much. They hope to grow enough food to share with hungry church members and some to sell, as well.
Here Lorenzo is showing me how he cuts off the bottom portion under the banana bunch so that all of the water and nutrients go to the developing bunch. I had never really seen a banana tree and found this fascinating.
The goat-herder helps on the farm. Here he is spraying pesticides of some sort. I’m going to pretend they are organic. One day he invited me to his apartment. We arrived and he had some kind of drink for me. It tasted like a dreamscicle. It basically was, made with goat’s milk.
Beautiful! There are so many varieties of bananas in Cuba, I absolutely cannot keep track. One thing I do know? You cook the green ones, you eat the small yellow ones. You haven’t truly tasted a banana until you’ve tasted one of those yellow beauties in the back.
This is a portion of the inside of their house. I took this photo mainly to show the electrical situation going on in their home. Yikes! Thankfully Lorenzo knows what he is doing with electricity. I did purchase some electrical boxes and light switches for them during my stay.
I’m not sure I could love these people any more. Even though they have so little, they bless me so tremendously. They offer their love freely and without expectation. They welcome me as one of their own family members. My only sadness is that they are so far away.
If you’d like to read more about what I learned from my time in Cuba, please check out my post Cuba Gathers. I hope these photos give you a glimpse into the everyday life of some of Cuba’s finest people. What do you think after looking at these photos? Would you want to stay somewhere like this? Have you ever visited a place drastically different from your home? I would love to hear your feedback!