Havana Part 5

This is part five of a series for my Storyboard on Flipboard. In 2018 I visited Havana, Cuba for photography and journalism. I stayed with a family that hosted their home as an Airbnb in Old Havana, Cuba aka Havana Vieja. I created a series of journals to document the journey and just in case the Cuban government decided to check what I came up with at the airport.

2.21.2018 (Cuba) Well, Rafael was a no show this morning so I decided to create some paintings instead. Since I didn’t bring my iPad it was important that I return home with at least some iPhone paintings that were done in Cuba. I wasn’t in the mood to shoot film so I just stuck to iPhone photos. I was probably being selective since I have only two packs left. Today ended up being very, very wild. It gives yesterday a run for its money. I met another local Cuban (Nelson) by the way of Ghana. He asked me how I was enjoying Cuba. Similar to Rafael he had several reservations with outsiders buying property and pushing out local Cubans.

 It sounds like a more extreme version of gentrification. He showed me how one of his female friend’s was living. There is so much poverty in Cuba! It’s crazy. I thought I saw bad living conditions in the US but it has nothing on Havana. It seems like there is just middle class and then poor. All three of us went out to eat and I agreed to treat because they were showing me around. I tried to keep costs down but I’m pretty sure the restaurant overcharged. I didn’t bring enough CUC so I had to go back home to grab more. After what seemed like an eternity I returned to pay. 

Next, Nelson and I ventured outside of Havana with a bus and two cabs. It was such a long commute made even longer with the two hour wait. We were in the boonies. By the side of the road was a hill that led up to some homes. This place was basically a hole in the wall. Again, living conditions are so poor here. I was introduced to the couple that owned the place and I took Instax photos of them to document. I mean I wanted to take as many pictures of people today so I definitely got my wish. 

 We went out again to get whiskey and cigarettes and returned back to the spot. Nelson was a hustler by the way and he proceeded to bleed me dry. I had to cut him off after awhile. Anyway we all drank for awhile and I went through the rest of the Instax. Long story short we left out and got the cabs and the bus back to Havana Vieja. I’m supposed to meet him tomorrow at 2pm but I think one day is enough. I literally cannot afford this guy.

Copyright © 2018, Raheem Nelson. All rights reserved.
Using Format