I weather the storms; tattered and uneven. But through it all, I continue to stand.
I weather the storms; tattered and uneven. But through it all, I continue to stand.
Brother of Manuel (2016) If you look closely, you can find the widening cracks in our foundation.
Brother of Manuel (2016) If you look closely, you can find the widening cracks in our foundation.
Somedays I wouldn’t trade the billowy clouds, the red soil, and Royal Palms for anything. Other days I’d trade it all for some rain and a little fertilizer.
Somedays I wouldn’t trade the billowy clouds, the red soil, and Royal Palms for anything. Other days I’d trade it all for some rain and a little fertilizer.
Walk a mile in my boots and you’ll see.
Walk a mile in my boots and you’ll see.
Granddaughter of Vicente 2005
Granddaughter of Vicente 2005
Family of Vicente Sr. 2005
Family of Vicente Sr. 2005
Family of Moro 2005
Family of Moro 2005
Moro 2005
Moro 2005
Moro with granddaughter 2005
Moro with granddaughter 2005
Florentino 2006
Florentino 2006
Babín 2006
Babín 2006
Babín 2016
Babín 2016
Cacho 2005
Cacho 2005
Sons of Juan Antonio 2006
Sons of Juan Antonio 2006
Isidro 2005
Isidro 2005
Isidro 2016
Isidro 2016
Daughters of Olga 2005
Daughters of Olga 2005
Olga 2016
Olga 2016
Carbón de Feliciano 2006
Carbón de Feliciano 2006
Manuel 2016
Manuel 2016
I weather the storms; tattered and uneven. But through it all, I continue to stand.
I weather the storms; tattered and uneven. But through it all, I continue to stand.Manuel (2016) Generally speaking, people in the country tend to be more concerned with crops than politics. Plants are the foundation of everything that we, as humans, need to survive: oxygen, food, medicine, clothing, furniture, shelter. Manuel passionately details the medicinal properties of the plant he just pulled from his nearby homegarden. Although healthcare in Cuba has been touted as a priority of the Revolution, and therefore subsidized by the government, rural access isn’t always easy. Farmers rely on their traditional knowledge of plants to alleviate common ailments and everyday aches and pains. 
Brother of Manuel (2016) If you look closely, you can find the widening cracks in our foundation.
Brother of Manuel (2016) If you look closely, you can find the widening cracks in our foundation.Vicente’s brother lives with Manuel and often sits on the sidelines; watching. His look and gestalt are on-point; what you’d expect from a rural farmer trying to make it day-to-day in the western mountains of Cuba. Summers can be unbelievably hot and humid, but fields are often wet and muddy, so rubber boots and no shirt is the norm. Beards and hats are encouraged. Today, there are 11 million people living on the island of Cuba and 23% of them live in rural areas. This number continues to decline though as rural youth move to towns and cities in search of greater opportunity. 
Somedays I wouldn’t trade the billowy clouds, the red soil, and Royal Palms for anything. Other days I’d trade it all for some rain and a little fertilizer.
Somedays I wouldn’t trade the billowy clouds, the red soil, and Royal Palms for anything. Other days I’d trade it all for some rain and a little fertilizer.Land of Magín (2006) The countryside of Pinar del Rio and Artemisa provinces are beautiful, but unpredictable. Farmers in the rural areas of Cuba often deal with extremes. Hurricanes are fond of the provinces that bookend the island, often bringing copious amounts of rain and wind that are quick to destroy newly planted crops. When not wet, these areas face periods of severe drought, leaving fields brittle and dusty. With no irrigation alternatives, rural Cubans make do with mediocre yields that might support the family but not bring in the much-needed cash from selling excess produce at nearby agricultural markets.
Walk a mile in my boots and you’ll see.
Walk a mile in my boots and you’ll see.Hierro (2016) Hierro might be 77, but he has the temperament of a child not pleased with the current situation. He is always anxiously waiting for the rain to stop so he can get back out into the field because, after all, time is money. Farmer households in the western mountains of the Sierra del Rosario are first homes, and second, businesses. They have to produce enough to feed themselves and their families, and enough to sell, so they can earn much-needed cash to spend on essentials not provided by State rations. Cuba’s market economy is highly complex and farmers have to navigate an intertwined and confusing web of formal and informal economies. 
Granddaughter of Vicente 2005
Granddaughter of Vicente 2005Vicente’s granddaughter waits patiently for the interviews to end so she can showcase the possessions most important to her. This particular morning, she harvested near-to-ripe avocados from the family’s homegarden. Rural Cubans have more ready-access to fruits, vegetables, and starches than those who live in the cities, especially if they have gardens and farms located nearby. This was a critical game changer for rural families during the years of the Special Period in Time of Peace. A lack of gasoline made it difficult to transport products from rural areas to cities, making some rural communities better off than their urban counterparts, where city dwellers lost an average of ten pounds that first year. 
Family of Vicente Sr. 2005
Family of Vicente Sr. 2005Sometimes all you can do is wait. Vicente’s granddaughters learn at a young age how to lean in doorways and perch on handmade chairs as they wait for whatever comes next. Waiting is a given in Cuba. Things move at a snail’s pace on the island and a sense of urgency is rare. Kids learn, quickly, to be patient and to hold on tight to what matters to them the most. You never know when what you’re holding might be taken away.
Family of Moro 2005
Family of Moro 2005Tres amigos trumps sibling rivalry. Most often in the case of threes: there’s one who leads, one who questions, and one who longs to get away. Moro’s grandchildren have grown up on the land that he cultivated for more than six decades. Today they still live there with their parents who continue the tradition of cultivating their family farm, even though their patriarch, Moro, has moved into town where others care for him as he battles ever-growing bouts of dementia. Moro is approaching 89 years of age and he has seen Cuba change a lot. His experiences have, without question, influenced those around him. These youth have a hunch that there’s more to life than what they see around them.
Moro 2005
Moro 2005
Moro with granddaughter 2005
Moro with granddaughter 2005
Florentino 2006
Florentino 2006
Babín 2006
Babín 2006
Babín 2016
Babín 2016
Cacho 2005
Cacho 2005
Sons of Juan Antonio 2006
Sons of Juan Antonio 2006
Isidro 2005
Isidro 2005
Isidro 2016
Isidro 2016
Daughters of Olga 2005
Daughters of Olga 2005
Olga 2016
Olga 2016
Carbón de Feliciano 2006
Carbón de Feliciano 2006
Manuel 2016
Manuel 2016
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