One of my main goals during my visit to Cuba was to interact with locals. Due to restrictions on travel it was one of my pre-requisites. I went to Havana for photography and journalistic purposes. I wanted to make sure I documented everything I was doing just in case I was confronted at Airport security. Aside from that I was genuinely curious about how local Cubans lived. I ran into a school teacher named Nelson when I was walking near Museo de Revolucion.

Nelson gave me a lot of insight on what it was like to live in Cuba. It was one thing for me to come into Havana as a tourist. I had a lot of freedoms that he didn’t have to say the least. He acted as my tour guide for two days (which was illegal) and the government did not want locals interacting with tourists. His wage equated to $10 a month. I could not believe the living conditions. 

Aside from that his lesson plans were censored for the most part. For example if he was teaching a class on Stalin he was not allowed to portray him in a negative light. I was reminded of how there was a lot of omitted information in terms of the slave trade when I was in school. I’m grateful to Nelson because he gave me an idea of what it’s like to really live in Cuba long term. Art created using Procreate on iPad.

Copyright © 2018, Raheem Nelson. All rights reserved.
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